Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD)



First Advisor

Thomas Carbonneau


Arbitration, as a modern Western form of dispute resolution, has become an important feature of international commercial transactions and contracts. Saudi Arabia ratified the New York Convention and enacted a new Law of Arbitration in 2012. This dissertation evaluates arbitration in Saudi Arabia, focusing on the adoption of international standards in relevant local laws and court practices. The dissertation also considers the weight of Saudi laws, traditions, and social values to gauge the extent to which arbitration as practiced can be integrated into the Saudi legal system.

The dissertation highlights the necessity of cultivating a supportive environment for arbitration in Saudi Arabia, detailing the ways in which adopting a workable and practical arbitration regime would benefit the country's legal system and economy. It compares Saudi arbitration laws and practices to those of other countries, focusing, in particular, on the issues of arbitrability and public policy. It also analyzes current laws and court decisions that are relevant to both domestic and international arbitration.

The dissertation goes on to explain the relationship between public policy and arbitration, detailing how public policy challenges to arbitration agreements and awards function internationally under the New York Convention. It then outlines how the Saudi interpretation of public policy differs from the international understanding and describes how the Saudi courts apply this notion in practice.

The dissertation concludes that Saudi Arabia needs to continue advancing its arbitration laws and practices. The courts have the tools to interpret the Arbitration Law and they should strive to make arbitration as successful as the Law allows. Fostering a successful arbitration system will require minimizing the supervisory role of competent authorities.