Status of female Saudi lawyers upgraded

Oct. 8, 2012 at 6:12 AM

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, Oct. 8 (UPI) -- Female lawyers in Saudi Arabia will soon be able to obtain licenses to practice law and represent clients in court, sources told the Saudi al-Riyadh newspaper.

The Saudi Ministry of Justice is expected to approve the licenses, which will require women to meet the same conditions as men to practice law, al-Arabiya said Monday, citing the Saudi newspaper report.

The decision to issue licenses followed lengthy discussions between legal and religious officials, with some wanting to restrict the work of female lawyers to certain types of cases and others saying they should be permitted to practice without any restrictions, al-Arabiya said.

The Ministry of Justice is reviewing license requests, which will then be presented to a committee to ensure all necessary requirements are met, the Saudi daily said.

Until now, Saudi women who graduated from law school were permitted to work as legal consultants in companies or banks but were unable to officially represent clients in court. They were also barred from opening their own law firms, al-Arabiya said.

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