A Legal Warning – Make sure your lawyer is qualified

On Thursday 16 January 2014, Arab News disclosed to the world that the Saudi Council of Engineers had sized over 30,000 fake foreign engineering degrees, and had had stopped a large number of such engineers from working as engineers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Having now been in the Kingdom for a number of years, I began to think about my own practice area, the field of legal services.

As a rule, in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, only Saudi nationals are called a “lawyer” (in Arabic “Moohami”), foreign lawyers are called legal advisors, irrespective of the foreign lawyers seniority, such  lawyers provide advice as a minimum with the permission of a Saudi lawyer in accordance with the Saudi Lawyers Code issued by the Ministry of Justice.

Over the last seven years, I have witnessed and heard some rather disturbing facts; I discuss some of them below as a warning to users of legal services to ensure that they have vetted their lawyers.

Fake legal advisors
Some individuals have foreign law degrees and practice in Saudi Arabia as legal advisors, they have not qualified in their jurisdiction, accordingly not only are they not qualified to provide legal advice, but they are also committing an offence for which the individual should be reported to the police or where services have already been obtained, a complaint to the police or legal action before the General Courts (formerly known as Shariah Courts) should be commenced.

Non- practicing lawyers
Potential legal service users should also be careful of lawyers who have qualified as a lawyer but have not practiced as a lawyer. Client should take care to understand that having the qualification, does not automatically make the individual a “qualified” lawyer for the matter that the client needs assistance with. Remember that a fully qualified practicing lawyer has gone through both the academic and practical legal training over years to hone their skills.

Google translator lawyers
International clients expect that their lawyer will provide competent advice in their language, the common language being English, a very worrying trend is occurring where the lawyers first language is not English, they are effectively cutting and pasting English legal text into google and then based on that translation, they are giving legal and drafting advice. The advice usually is wrong and the drafting is usually atrocious to say the least.

The above are some of the major issues that clients will face, at least now you have been warned.

Author: Siraj Al Islam
One 2 One Legal LLP
Email: [email protected]

KSA Mobile: +966 5955 28968

UK Mobile: +447 4304 40755

Since 2000 Siraj Al Islam has built a significant expertise in legal and legal related business risk management. In addition to specializing in Islamic banking and finance, Siraj Al Islam has a long history of advising sponsors, banking institutions and quasi-governmental entities with the structuring, implementation and delivery of major corporate and commercial projects’ including PPP and PFI

At the age of 28, Siraj Al Islam was appointed to and served as the United Kingdom General Counsel for ISS, a global organization listed by Forbes as the world’s 5th largest private employer.

Prior to founding One 2 One Legal LLP, Siraj Al Islam worked with UK “Magic Circle “ and USA “ White Shoe” law firms, some of the largest law firms in the world.

One 2 One Legal LLP, is a limited liability partnership, registered in England, United Kingdom.

We provide specialist legal and legal related business risk management services including the following: Islamic Banking and Finance, Project Finance, Shariah Advice, Corporate, Commercial, Company Secretarial, Dispute Resolution, Mediation, Executive Management, In-house Counsel, Private Client, Legal Training, Business Risk Management, Law Firm Client Protection Service.

This blog article is intended only as a general discussion of these issues. It is not considered to be legal advice. We would be pleased to provide additional details or advice about specific situations. For additional information on this important topic, please feel free to call or email us.

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