Qanoon Update: Court Judgments

When we first launched Qanoon back in 2015, we launched it with the intention of enabling legal professionals in Oman to do their jobs easily, effectively, and efficiently. Little did we know that it would fundamentally transform the legal sector in Oman by becoming the definitive source for accessing Omani legislation in Arabic and enabling the public to be well-informed and up-to-date on the most recent legal updates. Indeed, Qanoon’s impact has been so far-reaching, even international organisations rely on it for their research and publications.

Qanoon does this by providing access to all of Oman’s legislation in Arabic for free, whether it is a royal decree, a ministerial decision, or a law with its amendments incorporated. To facilitate searching within the contents of these legal instruments, we have made them available in both PDF and text.

However, when it comes to the courts system of Oman, legislation is only one piece of the puzzle. Lawyers, prosecutors, and judges also need to access previous court judgments if they are dealing with cases that are similar in nature. Unfortunately, these judgments are incredibly difficult to find in any language due to the lack of an online and freely accessible repository. 

This is compounded by the fact that Oman does not follow the ‘precedent’ principle, whereby judgments in previous cases are binding on subsequent cases of a similar nature. While this grants judges the flexibility to issue judgments as they see fit for the cases at hand, it does bring about an element of uncertainty for both the claimant and defendant.

Putting aside the philosophical reasons as to why the precedent principle is not strictly followed in Oman, one can easily see that a practical reason for the failure of judges to follow previous judgments is the simple fact that judges themselves do not have access to them, just like the rest of us.

As part of the mission of Qanoon, we are now attempting to address the lack of access to judicial decisions, and today we are happy to announce the launch of a new feature—the court judgments section, which contains all of the most recently published judgments of the Supreme Court in both PDF and text.

We believe that the launch of this new section is a major milestone for the accessibility of the Omani legal system as this is the first time in history for Omani judicial decisions to be made available online, for free, in a fully searchable and structured database both in PDF and text. We are launching today more than 100 Supreme Court judgments in full text and more than 400 of these judgments in PDF relating to civil, labour, criminal, and other lawsuits. These judgments were taken from the official collections of the Supreme Court and include the official case number, the date of the judgment, the names of the judges examining the case, a brief summary of the primary legal principle, a number of keywords, and the full text of the judgment with the names of the parties redacted.

We believe that the release of these court judgments to the public will have a significant impact on the ability of lawyers to advocate their cases with more convincing evidence, the ability of judges to rule in a predictable manner, the ability of lawmakers to understand the real-life implications of the law, and the opportunity for law students to understand how the law works in practice. 

Court judgments are currently available only on Qanoon in Arabic and we will consider producing English translations of them in the near future on Decree. 

You can access the new feature on the following link: