Article (8) of the Basic Law of Governance stipulates: "The system of government in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is established on the foundation of justice, Shura (consultation) and equality in compliance with Islamic Shariah". Accordingly, equality before the law is one of the established legal principles in force in the Kingdom. Article 47 of the Basic Law of Governance stipulates: "The right of litigation is guaranteed equally for citizens and residents in the Kingdom". Article (46) of the same Law stipulates: "The judiciary is an independent authority and, in their administration of justice, judges are independent and subject to no authority save Islamic Shariah". Judicial laws, especially the Law of the Judiciary, and the measures taken in this regard, reinforce the principle of the independence of the judiciary. The Law of the Judiciary entails that judges may not be transferred to other positions save with their own consent or by reason of promotion, and in accordance with the provisions of the law. Article (10) of the Law of Civil Procedures and Article (5) of the Law of Criminal Procedure state that a case shall be under the mandate of judge once it is submitted to him and it cannot be withdrawn from him even if he does not have the jurisdiction to decide thereon except after a judgment is rendered or a decision is made that he has no jurisdiction, and that the case is transferred to the competent authority.
Article (9) of the Printed Materials and Publication Law, as amended, confirms that it is not permissible to publish the proceedings of investigations or trials, without permission of the agency authorized by the law so that such publication does not negatively affect the progress of the case or the achievement of the desired justice. With regard to guaranteeing the right of litigation in all its degrees, any breach of this principle leads to annulment of the judgment issued. Article (187) of the Law of Criminal Procedure stipulates: "Any action that is inconsistent with the principles of Shariah or the laws derived therefrom shall be invalid." The Law of the Judiciary set out the degrees of litigation in the Kingdom.
The Kingdom's judicial system adheres to the principle of the legality of crime and punishment. Thus, Article (38) of the Basic Law of Governance stipulates: "Punishment shall be carried out on a personal basis. There shall be no crime or punishment save on the basis of a Shariah or statutory provision and there shall be no punishment save for deeds committed subsequent to a statutory provision coming into effect". Article (2) of the Law of Criminal Procedure stipulates: "No person shall be arrested, searched, detained, or imprisoned except in the cases specified by the law. Detention or imprisonment shall be carried out only in the places designated for such purposes and for the period prescribed by the competent authority. A person under arrest shall not be subjected to any bodily or moral harm, nor to torture or degrading treatment." Article (3) of the same Law entails that no penal punishment shall be imposed on any person except in connection with a forbidden and punishable act, whether under Shariah principles or under statutory laws.
The judicial laws in the Kingdom, such as the Law of the Judiciary, the Law of Criminal Procedure, and the Law of Civil Procedures, also include principles and provisions that guarantee the administration of justice by guaranteeing the right of everyone to a fair trial with adequate guarantees, conducted by a competent, independent, impartial court previously established under the Law. Worthy of note is that all courts in the Kingdom are established under the Law of the Judiciary and the Board of Grievances Law; both laws indicate the jurisdiction of each court. Besides, the right to seek the assistance of a lawyer is guaranteed to the accused during the investigation and trial stages under Article (4) and Article (65) of the Law of Criminal Procedure. Article (22) of the Implementing Regulations of the Law of Criminal Procedure confirms the need to inform the accused of his right to seek the assistance of a lawyer. Article (139) of the Law of Criminal Procedure provides for the right of the accused in major crimes, in case he cannot afford to appoint a lawyer, to request the court to appoint one in his defense at the expense of the State.
As for the publicity of trials, it is a legal principle in force in the Kingdom, as provided for in Article (154) of the Law of Criminal Procedure, which deems this action to be the norm unless the court exceptionally decides otherwise, either for security reasons, observance of public morality, or if it is necessary for determining the case, which is consistent with international standards for fair trial controls. Paragraph (1) of Article 181, of the Law of Criminal Procedure requires that the judgment be read in an open session, even though the case has been considered in closed sessions. To enhance the principle of public hearings, the Human Rights Commission has established a special unit comprising specialists and experts from among its staff to attend the trial proceedings; such unit members have already started to attend hearings in a number of Kingdom's courts. Under Article (116) of the same Law, any person arrested or detained must be immediately notified of the grounds for his arrest or detention and must be given the right to contact any person of his choice.