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Before 1970, the judicial system in the Sultanate was limited with the Shariah Court in Muscat. The Ministry of Justice was among the first four ministries established early at the Omani Renaissance. The Ministry began to develop the judicial system by increasing the number of judges and staff, and by developing and constructing headquarters for all courts in the different regions. The judiciary system was developing gradually in accordance with the needs of the community, and so several committees, courts and specialized authorities were created, such as the trade disputes resolve authority(formerly a committee), and the Appeals Committee, and others. The Regular judiciary (natural) is known as mother judiciary, to which general jurisdiction, and any matter with no explicit text is referred. This type of judiciary contains the following courts:.

Primary Courts

Is the first court before which suits are raised. These courts rule on issues related to violation and misdemeanors, therefore; they sentence with disciplinary and evaluative punishments, civil and commercial litigation, arbitration requests, claims of personal status, public, labor, tax, and rents proceedings, or any other case raised to it under the terms of the law unless explicitly otherwise stipulated, and primary courts are divided into two types according to terms of reference:

  • Individual circuit primary court:
    A circuit consisting of one judge. It is also called criminal circuit for it is responsible for resolving disputes which claim no more than 70,000 RO. Its final ruling is on issues of common money division or personal status matters.
  • Primary court consisting of three judges:
    The second type of primary courts is specialized in resolving conflict in claims with value assessed to exceed the amount of 70,000 RO, which is beyond the scope of Individual Primary court. For instance: bankruptcy, insurance and intellectual property cases.

Courts of Appeal

after the conflict is displayed before the Primary Court, and if the opponent objected to the ruling and declared non-compatibility with it the conflict is then placed before the Court of Appeal but in such case reasons must be raised before both the penal judiciary and the civil courts. Otherwise, the appeal will not be accepted.

In the case of penal appeal, a judicial report must be handed to the secretariat of the Court of Appeal to request primary report to set the session and the sentencing but in cases of civil cases the report is delivered in accordance with specific data to the Primary court to coordinate with the Court of Appeal to follow-up with the session setting and sentence procedures.

Supreme Court

Civil courts are divided according to the degree of litigation into two types: courts of first instance, courts of second-class, or what is known as the Courts of Appeal, and the Supreme Court is on top of these tribunals.

This court supervises application of the law and unifies its interpretation in all courts that the Sultanate comprises. It includes circuit for considering punitive materials (Criminal Circuit) and circuit for civil, commercial and personal status matters, moreover, the Supreme Court includes an independent public prosecution of the so-called public prosecutor of the Supreme Court, no lawsuits are considered in first instance manner except in case of law constitutionality or matters relating to the affairs of the judges, however, appeal on terminal provisions are considered.

Criminal Court

Criminal Court adjudicates in any act described by the law as felony. Penal act is a felony once its sentence exceeds three years, life imprisonment, death, or a penalty of more than 500,000 RO. Verdicts of such cases cannot be appealed, however, they could be challenged at the Supreme Court.

Procedures of Regular courts
Recourse to Courts of First Instance

In case a legal dispute occurs in civil, commercial issues, personal or labor conditions the plaintiff may resort to the Arbitrations and Conciliation Committee or directly to court. When resorting to the Court of First Instance, the following procedures are to be followed:

  1. The summon papers which the bailiff will affect must comprise the following information:
    • The full name of the applicant, his/her tribe, title, profession or occupation and domicile.
    • Full name of the person to be summoned, his/her tribe, title, profession or occupation and domicile. If his/her domicile is unknown at the time of summon, then the last known domicile is instead.
    • The date month, year and hour at which the summon is affected.
    • Subject of the summon and the court before which the case is raised.
    • The facts of the case, the defendant's demands and the reasons for making them.
    • Signature of the defendant or his representative's, after verifying the identity of each.
  2. Payment of a fee of (5) RO for civil and personal status issues, and (300) RO for trade issues on bankruptcy declaration cases and applications resulting from it which cannot be estimated in accordance with the rules of estimating the value of the case provided by law.
    If the suit application fees cannot be estimated a fee of (30) OR shall be paid at enrollment and the secretariat shall settle the fee till the day of pronouncing the sentence. In other trading suits estimated value rate is 2% of the value of the business suit with a minimum of (30) OR and a maximum of (3000) OR.
  3. If no declaration of the defendant was made because his domicile is unknown, the declaration shall be through publishing an advertisement in a daily newspaper and the plaintiff is to pay the costs of publishing. And when submitting the suit files and paying the fees as explained above, the defendant shall be notified with the date of the hearing and shall sign on it.
  4. A representative of the bailiff may attend in his place, but must be a lawyer and the Agency must be officially documented and certified by notary or it could be proved in the minutes of the meeting attended by the prosecutor.

Petition for review

The opponents may seek reconsideration of the final sentences in the following cases:

  1. If an opponent cheated in a way that influenced the verdict.
  2. If the judgment was based on the papers that were proved to be forged after the sentence is pronounced, or built on a testimony of a witness who give a false witness.
  3. If the petitioner discovered after the verdict is pronounced that his opponent has prevented the submission of conclusive papers to the suit.
  4. If the judgment was made to something not demanded by adversaries or more than they asked for.
  5. If the judgment is issued on a normal or legal person who was not properly represented in the case.
  6. For who is convicted by the judgment of the case, while he has not involved or intervened in the case, however a proof of fraud, gross negligence or complicity of his representative must be provided.
  7. If the verdict was contradictory to itself.

The petition shall be raised to the same court that pronounced the verdict, through delivering files to the court's secretaries according to the conditions and procedures set for raising petitions, which means: paying fees, and providing copies as the number of the opponents, plus all the required information. The file must contain the statement of the verdict, it's date and the reasons of the petition, otherwise the petition will be considered void.

The petition may contain a request of stopping the application of the verdict, however if the petition was not accepted, the petitioner shall pay a fine of no less than (10) OR and no more than (25) OR, except for the (e and f) cases, for those are judge by confiscation of all or part of custody, moreover a verdict of compensation to rejected petitions can be made.

Challenge in civil and commercial cases before the Supreme Court

The opponents may challenge before the supreme court the judgments made by the Court of Appeal in the following conditions:

  • If the judgment was built on violation, mistake in applying or misinterpretation of the law.
  • If invalidity was proved in the judgment or in the procedures that effected on the judgment.
  • Opponents may challenge before the Supreme Court any final judgment from whatever court it was rendered.
  • Raising the challenge is through depositing files to Supreme Court Secretariat signed by a lawyer acceptable to the court. The challenge files must contain opponents' names, their tribes, surnames, their attributes and addresses, with the statement of the challenged provision and its date, plus the reasons upon which the challenge is made and finally the demands of the appellants. If the challenge was not made as described here, it will be considered void.

The appellant had to pay a fee of (25) OR for the challenges before the supreme court, and (10) OR for the appeals of stopping the application of sentences, the court secretariat shall not accept any challenge files not containing a prove of the payment of the fees.

The appellant must deposit to the Supreme Court safe a bail of (25) OR, which will be paid back if the challenge was accepted. One bail is enough in the case of multiple appellants if they have challenged in one paper, even if their reasons differs from each other. The secretariat shall not accept the challenge if a proof of the payment of the deposit is not included. Anyone exempted from the fees shall be exempted from the bail. The Supreme Court rulings cannot be challenged in any form of appeal.

Appeals in civil and commercial cases
Sentences which can be appealed:

Final sentences of courts of first instance for violation of the rules of jurisdiction relating to public order or if invalidity was proved in the judgment or in the procedures that effected on the judgment.

All sentences in the range of final quorum if the pronounced sentence is contradicting a previous judgment which had no power of res judicata, in this case the previous sentence is considered appealed by force of law if it has not become final at the making of the appeal.

Terms of Appeals:

Bail : Bail: the appellant must deposit a bail of (50) OR to court safe when submitting appeal papers. One bail is enough in the case of multiple appellants if they have challenged in one paper, even if their reasons differs from each other. The secretariat shall not accept the appeal if a proof of the payment of the deposit is not included. The bail will be taken if the appeal was not accepted for the reason of the end of the cause.

The paper must include the following data:

  1. Statement of the appealed sentence, its date, the reasons for the appeal and requests, otherwise the appeal will be considered void. Moreover, the appellant must submit copies of Appeal papers as the number of appellants and attach documents supporting the appeal with it.
  2. The Appellant must pay the fees when submitting the appeal papers.
  3. The data on the Appeal papers must include the information included in the case papers, and new appeals may not be made in the same case, nor introduction of anyone who is not an opponent in the appealed case unless the law provides otherwise.

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