The Kingdom’s Ministry of Justice announced this week that it has issued licenses for 59 Saudi women to practice as lawyers for the duration of 2018. With this, the total number of licensed women lawyers in the Kingdom will now reached 244, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
As reported earlier this year, the number of Saudi female legal practitioners increased by 29 percent in 2018 compared to 13 percent for men. Part of this phenomenon has been due to the ministry launching an intensive program, which includes a Judicial Training Center, in order to enable the maximum number of Saudi women to enter the field and practice.
The minister has also recently announced the introduction of a new three-year diploma course in law for both Saudi women and men working in the ministry's departments. Holders of the diploma will be allowed to practice as lawyers.
In 2013, female lawyers achieved a significant victory in being able to practice law and argue their cases in Saudi courtrooms, a triumph that came after years of being prohibited from appearing in court. Following this decision, female lawyers were able to advocate for issues not only women-related but covering a variety of cases such as commercial, personal, and labor affairs as well.
That same year in November, Bayan Mahmoud Al-Zahran became the first Saudi woman lawyer to appear at the General Court in Jeddah for the first time to defend a client. The following year, the Jeddah-based attorney became the first Saudi woman to open a law firm.
Al-Zahran told Arab News at the time that “the objective of her law firm is to fight for the rights of Saudi women and bring their problems before the court, since male lawyers in many cases couldn’t understand the problems and situations of a female plaintiff.”