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Thursday, January 27, 2022

Report: Qatar’s court cleared 80 percent of cases filed last year



The vast majority – or 80 percent – of claims lodged in Qatar’s courts in 2013 were cleared the same year they were filed, according to new government figures.

The data was reported by QNA yesterday, which cited an annual statistical statement released by the Supreme Judicial Council.

The report isn’t currently available online, but according to QNA, decisions were made on 66,020 of the 81,169 cases brought before all courts in 2013, including the lower criminal court and Court of Cassation.

Doha court

The states news agency added that the number of criminal cases brought before the courts went up only marginally from 2012, by 2,432 cases, for a total of 48,648 cases.

Other claims, including civil lawsuits, labor litigation and “urgent cases” comprised the majority of the remaining cases.

According to the statement, cases cleared by the courts during the summer months of July – September also went up, with rulings made on 6,923 claims – an increase of 1,823 from 2012.

Despite the higher caseload, the court appeared to maintain the same 80 percent clearance rate it had in 2012, according to the Peninsula.

Judicial changes

The high clearance rate comes as Qatar faces significant pressure from internal and external groups to revamp its judicial system, which was formed a quarter century ago when the population was less than a million people.

In 2012, prominent lawyer Yusuf Al Zaman said:

“What worries legal circles is the delay in dispensing justice as court proceedings are taking much (more) time and cases are taking longer than expected to decide.”

He added:

“So many changes have taken place…since (1990), with the population…having literally exploded…there is the need to amend the procedure codes to make sure they help the laws and the judicial machinery cope…with the developments.”

The United Nations also appears to favor change.

During a weeklong visit to Qatar last year, Gabriela Knaul, the UN’s special rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, said that courts here needed to make a clearer distinction between public and state interests.

Gabriela Knaul

She added that she had received information showing powerful politicians and large businesses meddling in cases and influencing prosecutors.

Knaul’s full report has yet to be released, but she did make some recommendations during the end of her visit.

These included establishing a code of conduct and ethics for judges, appointing more female judges, implementing modern methods of recording court minutes, making documents related to proceedings and cases available in English and waiving court fees for individuals who could not afford them.

Knaul also called for the creation of an independent and self-regulating bar association that would monitor judicial proceedings, appointments, and minimize the influence exerted by external parties.



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7 years ago

Can we put these statistics in the dock for a minute? The article states 80% of cases lodged in 2013 were cleared in 2013. However, is it reasonable to expect cases lodged in the last two months of the year to be cleared by the end of that year? That could explain the 20%. Or do they mean 80% of cases lodged in 2013 were cleared within a year? Which it can’t because we’re not at the end of 2014 yet. It’s not very clear.

Also, what happened to the 20% of cases that weren’t cleared in the previous year (2012)? Presumably they were carried into the following year. But then they won’t be included in the following year’s statistical analysis as they would have been lodged in the previous year? Do we have a mop up rate for the previous year’s cases?

Wouldn’t it be a better indication of performance to provide a rolling annual average of the time it takes to clear a case?

I rest my case, m’lud.

7 years ago
Reply to  Bornrich

Excellent comment @Bornrich!
I would also add that it is highly unusual that the Supreme Judicial Council comments on its performances. If it does it now, it is most probably because of the mounting criticism of lawyers and the public towards it. It is considered by some as the slowest and least developed government institution, and I have heard that most of their operations are still done using paper when other institutions started the shift to the web and mobile since the mid-noughties.

Expat Girl
Expat Girl
7 years ago

I’m curious what the definition of a case being “cleared” is… Is the Villagio case considered “cleared”? Is the Huang case considered “cleared”? These statistics mean absolutely nothing to me, and they certainly don’t do anything to improve my negative perception of the Qatari Judicial system.

7 years ago

In 1990, the population was less than half a million…

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