Prison and lashes for malicious litigants
The Ministry of Justice plans to introduce tough new legislation to penalize malicious litigants, which would include fines, prison and lashes.
The plan aims to reduce case backlogs at the country’s courts and save the state from pumping more money into its free legal services program.
The ministry believes that the new law would reduce the number of malicious lawsuits. Judges would be given the discretion to throw out frivolous cases.
Sheik Muhammad Ameen Merdad, a member of the Supreme Judicial Council and chairman of the ministerial committee drafting the legislation, told local media recently that the new rules would save judges time and prevent disputes between Saudi individuals and communities.
Merdad said the project would be completed soon. He said the ministry was constantly reviewing the country’s legislation to develop the judiciary, in line with the orders and aspirations of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah.
Lawyers and experts have welcomed the decision.
“This is a very important step toward limiting this phenomenon of malicious lawsuits,” said Majid Muhammad Qarroub, a lawyer and legal councilor at the ministry and the secretary general of the International Union of Lawyers.
He said the country’s provision of free legal advice has resulted in an increase in malicious lawsuits in the Kingdom.
Abdullah Marie bin Mahfooz, a lawyer and head of the National Committee for the Care of Prisoners and their Families, said such lawsuits harm prisoners and their families socially and psychologically. He said Article Three of the proposed amendments stipulates that the court can dismiss a case it considers to be malicious.
According to Wikipedia, malicious or vexatious litigation “is legal action which is brought, regardless of its merits, solely to harass or subdue an adversary. It may take the form of a primary frivolous lawsuit, or may be repetitive, burdensome, and unwarranted filing of meritless motions. Filing vexatious litigation is considered an abuse of the judicial process