Saudi Gazette report
RIYADH – Obstacles facing Saudi women lawyers have become a thing of the past. Female lawyers have now become part and parcel of the Kingdom’s judicial system as they practice the profession alongside their male counterparts.
“We don’t face any problems and difficulties in carrying out our duty with responsibility,” said Bayan Zahran, a lawyer, while speaking to Okaz/Saudi Gazette. “The situation of women lawyers is totally different from what was five years ago and we defend our clients inside the courts,” she added.
Zahran referred to some of the difficulties female lawyers had to face five years ago, especially when they applied for license. “Officials used to express surprise when we applied for license. We have been successful in removing their apprehensions through hard work.”
Speaking about major cases being handled by women lawyers, Zahran said: “We have been handling cases related to divorce, rights of divorcees, payment of alimony, reconciliation between couples, payment for housing and furniture, and issues related to married life.”
Najoud Qassim, also a lawyer, said women lawyers must be allowed to take part in reconciliation sessions, especially when married life becomes impossible for couples and when there are reports of family violence, which makes reconciliation impossible.
“Housing for children must be ensured by the father before divorcing their mother to ensure stability in their life,” she said. Qassim called for electronic recording of court proceedings. “It will enable women lawyers to make corrections in their defense statements before court endorsement,” she added.
Tasneem Al-Raheeli, a trainee in legal practice, highlighted the remarkable progress achieved by the Kingdom’s judicial system over the past few years. However, she called for increasing the number of workers at courts to ensure speedy justice.
Hanan Al-Qahtani spoke about difficulties being faced by women lawyers to find training offices. Some offices insist that the trainees should not receive any salary. The authorities have demanded that bachelor degree holders in law should get training for three years.
“Prospective women lawyers in remote regions face difficulty to attend legal courses and have to travel long distances to reach law colleges in major cities,” she pointed out.
High training charges are another major problem, Al-Qahtani said. “Sometimes the amount will reach SR2,000 daily,” she told Okaz/Saudi Gazette.
Noura Al-Qarni stressed the need to reduce protracted court hearings, as this would delay other cases.
Sara Al-Atwi emphasized the capability of women lawyers to do their duty in a professional and responsible manner.
“We can also educate the community on rules and regulations as well as their rights and duties,” she added.
Al-Qarni emphasized that women lawyers should get proper training in order to defend cases of their clients successfully without incurring any losses.
Source : Saudi Gazette