UC Law SF International Law Review


A narrow understanding of other nations’ judicial systems begets unsupported assumptions about the way a justice system should operate. While many western commenters have publicized the failures of Middle Eastern societies to protect individual rights, much of the existing literature fails to analyze the legal structures which perpetuate injustice and the motivations that keep the institutions in place. This article illuminates the goals Saudi Arabia’s justice system, inspects how those goals parallel the goals of other common law and civil law systems, and evaluates whether Saudi Arabia’s system is able to effectively accomplish its aims.

This article argues that Saudi Arabia’s criminal justice system accomplishes its goals with precision, but that the nation sacrifices justice in its pursuit of religious fervor and citizen compliance. This article concludes that Saudi Arabia’s judicial system misses its mark and perpetuates injustice even where it pursues the same goals as western judicial systems. Ultimately, Saudi Arabia’s justice system is in dire need of dramatic overhaul but is too practically deficient to implement reform.