03 September 2018

Riyadh to host first Saudi Law Conference end of month

Justice minister to host legal profession as legislative changes take place in context of Vision 2030, Aramco's IPO, Yemen and Qatar.

Riyadh is to host the first Saudi Law Conference, a two-day event opening on 30 September, under the patronage of Justice minister Waleed Al-Samaani. The conference, to be organized under the theme ‘Re-enforcing a sustainable and inclusive business environment.’

Legislative developments

The  event aims to be a platform where participants can share their expertise in finding solutions to the challenges the legal system faced by Saudi which is undergoing domestic and regional changes. The kingdom has been undergoing legislative developments of the Kingdom, including a new bankruptcy system, introduction of VAT and selective tax systems, connecting Saudi SMEs to the world, Saudisation regulations and their impact on foreign employment contracts, and, legislation to promote transparency and combat fraud and corruption. The conference takes place in the context of the Vision 2030 initiative, led by Crown prince Mohammad bin Salman, aims to help create a healthy business environment that encourages participation by foreign and domestic investors in the kingdom. A number of domestic and foreign legal firms are involved in Vision 2030, and some have been close to the on-off planned IPO of Saudi Aramco.

Sovereignty dispute

Saudi is also locked into an ongoing dispute with neighbours Qatar, and a senior Saudi official has appeared to confirm Riyadh's plans to dig a canal separating Qatar from the mainland, turning it into an island. Qatar has been diplomatically isolated from its neighbors for over a year. Saud al-Qahtani, a senior adviser to  MBS, tweeted ‘I am impatiently waiting for details on the implementation of the Salwa island project, a great, historic project that will change the geography of the region.’ Reports of the canal first emerged back in April and Mr al-Qahtani's remarks is the clearest reference yet that the Saudi regime is serious about the initiative. The Saudi kingdom and its regional allies, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt, cut diplomatic and trade ties with Qatar in June 2017, accusing it of harboring close ties to Iran and supporting various terrorist groups. Doha denies the charges and claims the boycott is an attempt to encroach its sovereignty.