Royal Decree 35/2022: The Judiciary Overhauled

The Omani judiciary had a major overhaul last week with Royal Decree 35/2022 which re-constituted the Supreme Judicial Council, abolished the administrative court, and brought the Public Prosecution under the supervision of the judiciary. This significant development is part of the efforts of Sultan Haitham to re-structure the Omani government, which had previously included a major restructuring of the executive branch of the government and has now addressed the judiciary.

Prior to the passing of Royal Decree 35/2022, the Omani judiciary involved many different bodies including the Supreme Judicial Council, the Council of Administrative Affairs of the Judiciary, the general courts (including primary courts, courts of appeal, and the Supreme Court), and the Administrative Court—this being a specialised court dealing exclusively with actions taken against the government in regard to certain administrative decisions and contracts.

By virtue of Royal Decree 35/2022, there is now only one primary supervisory body for the judiciary, which is the Supreme Judicial Council. This body is chaired by His Majesty, has a dedicated deputy chairman—who is not in himself a judge—appointed by royal decree, and has a secretariat general with a secretary general who is also appointed by royal decree. The Supreme Judicial Council is now responsible for all general courts, responsible for the Public Prosecution, and responsible for the High Judicial Institute (a specialised institute for training judges).

The Administrative Court was abolished, and its role will be carried out by circuits within general courts, in the same way that there are dedicated circuits for criminal, civil, labour, and other specialisations.
Sayyid Mohammed bin Sultan bin Hamoud Al-Busaidi has been appointed as the Deputy Chairman of the Supreme Judicial Council by Royal Decree 40/2022. His Excellency Sayyid Mohammed Al-Busaidi was previously the Minister of State and Governor of Dhofar. Issa bin Hamad bin Mohammed Al-Azri has been appointed as the Secretary General of the Supreme Judicial Council by Royal Decree 44/2022. His Excellency Issa Al-Azri was previously the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Justice, until the Ministry of Justice was merged with the Ministry of Legal Affairs in 2020, when he was made the Governor of Batinah South until this new appointment.

You can learn more about this major development by reading the full text of Royal Decree 35/2022.