Basic Law: Powers of the State

Article 44:

The powers of the State shall comprise:

- The Judicial Power

- The Executive Power

- The Organizational Power

All these powers shall cooperate in performing their duties according to this Law and other regulations. The King is the ultimate source of all these authorities.

Article 45:

The source of Ifta (religious ruling) in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the Holy Qur'an and the Prophet's Sunnah. The law shall specify the composition of the Senior Ulema Board and of the Administration of Religious Research and Ifta and its jurisdictions.

Article 46:

The judicial authority is an independent power. In discharging their duties, the judges bow to no authority other than that of Islamic Shari'ah.

Article 47:

Both citizens and foreign residents have an equal right to litigation. The necessary procedures are set forth by the law.

Article 48:

Courts shall apply the provisions of Islamic Shari'ah to cases brought before them, according to the teachings of the Holy Qur'an and the Prophet's Sunnah as well as other regulations issued by the Head of State in strict conformity with the Holy Qur'an and the Prophet's Sunnah.

Article 49:

Subject to the provisions of article 53 of this law, the courts shall have jurisdiction to deal with all kinds of disputes and crimes.

Article 50:

The King, or whomsoever he may deputize, shall be concerned with the implementation of the judicial verdicts.

Article 51:

The law specifies the formation of the supreme judicial council and its functions as well as the organization and jurisdiction of the courts.

Article 52:

Judges are appointed and their service is terminated by a Royal Order upon a proposal by the supreme judicial council as specified by the law.

Article 53:

The law defines the structure and jurisdiction of the Court of Grievances.

Article 54:

The law shall specify the reference, organization and jurisdictions of the Board of Investigation and Public Prosecution.

Article 55:

The King shall undertake to rule according to the rulings of Islam and shall supervise the application of Shari'ah, the regulations, and the State's general policy as well as the protection and defense of the country.

Article 56:

The King shall be the Prime Minister and shall be assisted in the performance of his duties by members of the Council of Ministers according to the rulings of this law and other laws. The Council of Ministers Law shall specify the Council's Powers with regard to internal and external affairs, organizing government bodies and co-ordinating their activities. Likewise the Law shall specify the conditions which the Ministers must satisfy, their eligibility, the method of their accountability along with all other matters related to them. The Council of Ministers' law and jurisdiction shall be modified with this Law.

Article 57:

(a) The King shall appoint the Deputy Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers and may relieve them of their duties by a Royal order.

(b) The Deputy Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers shall be jointly responsible before the King for the applications of Islamic Shari'ah, the laws and the State's general policy.

(c) The King shall have the right to dissolve and re-form the Council of Ministers.

Article 58:

The King shall appoint ministers, deputy ministers and officials of the "excellent grade " category and he may dismiss them by a Royal order in accordance with the rules of the law.

Ministers and heads of independent authorities shall be responsible before the Prime Minister for their ministries and authorities.

Article 59:

The law shall prescribe the provisions pertaining to civil service, including salaries, bonuses, compensation, privileges and retirement pensions.

Article 60:

The King shall be the Supreme Commander of the armed forces and shall appoint military officers and terminate their service in accordance with the law.

Article 61:

The King shall have the right to declare a state of emergency and general mobilization as well as war.

Article 62:

If danger threatens the safety of the Kingdom, the integrity of its territory, the security of its people and their interests, or impedes the performance of State institutions, the King shall take necessary and speedy measures to confront this danger. If the King feels that these measures may better be permanent, he then shall take whatever legal action he deems necessary in this regard.

Article 63:

The King receives Kings and heads of state, appoints his representatives to other countries and accepts accreditation of the representatives of other countries to the Kingdom.

Article 64:

The King awards medals in the same manner as specified by the law.

Article 65:

The King may delegate parts of his authority to the Crown Prince by a Royal order.

Article 66:

In the event of his traveling abroad, the King shall issue a Royal Order deputizing the Crown Prince to run the affairs of the State and look after the interests of the people as stated in the Royal Order.

Article 67:

Acting within its term of reference, the Organizational Power shall draw up regulations and by-laws to safeguard public interests or eliminate corruption in the affairs of the State in accordance with the rulings of the Islamic Shari'ah. It shall exercise its powers in compliance with this law and the two other laws of the Council of Ministers and the Majlis Al-Shoura (Consultative Council).

Article 68:

The Majlis Al-Shoura shall be constituted. Its law shall determine the structure of its formation, the method by which it exercises its special powers and the selection of its members. The King shall have the right to dissolve the Majlis Al-Shoura and re-form it.

Article 69:

The King may call the Council of Ministers and Majlis Al-Shoura to hold a joint meeting to which he may invite whomsoever he wishes for a discussion of whatsoever issues he may like to raise.

Article 70:

Laws, treaties, international agreements and concessions shall be issued and modified by Royal Decrees.

Article 71:

Laws shall be published in the official gazette and they shall take effect as from the date of their publication unless another date is stipulated.

Related Items
See also:

Main reference point:


Profile of Saudi Arabia

The Country Profile contains thousands of pages of information on every aspect of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, including its geography, history and development (political, economic and social).