Procedural Delay in the Developing Middle East

  • 1 Professor of Law, Dean, Flinders Law, GPO Box 2100, Adelaide, Australia
Kim Economides
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  • Professor of Law, Dean, Flinders Law, Flinders University, GPO Box 2100, Adelaide, SA 5001, Australia
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Abstract

In this article, I explore whether and how Middle Eastern legal process can be reconciled with the idea of timeliness. The idea that any procedure physically within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Middle East and North Africa (MENA) regions could be both fair and expeditious may appear counterintuitive to those brought up in the Anglo-American legal tradition, and the suggestion that there could exist a notion of “timely Middle Eastern procedure” that produced just and fair results is more than likely to be treated as an oxymoron. Administrative, political and legal processes throughout the Levant and Arab world are, when viewed through Western eyes, more than likely to be characterised as corrupt, slow or even Kafkaesque. I argue that procedural delay is an inherently problematic and relative concept, both legally and culturally speaking, which cannot make sense without introducing robust time standards against which court processing time can be evaluated. I seek to elucidate the fundamental nature and causes of procedural delay in relation to civil trials and propose the adoption of a distinct methodology that could be used to more objectively assess court efficiency in handling civil cases throughout the GCC and MENA regions.

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