Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Key Legal and Business Trends 

2024 Update

In 2016, an ambitious initiative named 'Vision 2030' was launched in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Since then, the Kingdom has undergone transformational social and economic reforms. In this article we discuss the recent changes to the legal landscape in Saudi Arabia, encouraged investment and futuristic building developments. 

What's happening in the Kingdom?

Vision 2030 is the idea behind the development of Saudi Arabia and has already driven major socio-economic change in the Kingdom. It has achieved this through drastic change in their legal landscape, and other changes that are guided by the following: 

Public Investment Fund (PIF)
National Transformation Programme (NTP)
Privatisation Programme
The Financial Sector Development Programme (FDSP)

The Legal Environment 

The law is based on Sharia principles but has been codified to accommodate international standards and business practices. 

There is no standard legislature in Saudi Arabia, but both the Council of Ministers (CoM) and Shura Council have a legislative function. Most new laws are drafted by the CoM and voted on; they are then approved by the King. The King can also pass laws directly without consulting the CoM.

Ministerial resolutions are also issued by some ministries to clarify and/or complement laws – these have the force of law and are issued in the form of decisions or implementing regulations.

Recently Codified Laws and Key Reforms

The Civil Transactions Law
The Personal Status Law
Law of Evidence and Saudi Criminal Law
Foreign Investment Law and Companies Law
Legal Reforms: Real Estate
Legal Reforms: External Funding
Employment and Saudization
Personal Data
Tax, Zakat and VAT
Dispute Resolution Mechanisms

Alignment with International Best Practises  

Saudi Arabia has announced in a royal decree the adoption of seven investment principles as part of the country's efforts to develop and diversify its economy and develop a competitive investment environment. The seven principles include: 

  • Equality between Saudi and foreign investors
  • Protection of investments; enabling sustainability of investments
  • Implementing social and environmental standards
  • Transfer of knowledge, technology, and enhancement of local human capital

The reforms reflect a conscious alignment with international contracting standards, which is crucial for attractive foreign investment and integrating into the global economy. The laws being adopted by the Kingdom has enhanced the speed, efficiency, and transparency of the legal and economic system based on the latest global practices in the business sector.

Next steps

To learn more about the trends we're seeing in Saudi Arabia, please get in touch

Register for our events

Doing Business Globally: 45 minute guides to key business and legal trends 

Sign up now