Starting January 1 as many as 600 expatriate lawyers will not be able to represent cases in Omani courts at any level, in accordance with the government efforts to encourage more Omani lawyers to practise in the courts of law.
Oman decided to allow only Omani lawyers to represent cases in front of the honourable judges at Primary, Appeal and Supreme Court as a result of constant requests made by the Omani Lawyers Association with the Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs.
“From January 1, 2021, appearing and pleading before the courts of appeal and the Supreme Court will be restricted to Omani lawyers, as the time limit granted by the Council of Ministers to non-Omani lawyers to attend and plead before the courts of appeal and the Supreme Court ends on December 31, 2020,” Dr Mohammed bin Ibrahim al Zadjali, Chairman, Oman Lawyers Association, told the Observer.
Non-Omani lawyers were not allowed to pursue legal arguments in the various primary courts of Oman since 2009 but were allowed to represent at the Appeals and other higher courts including the Supreme Court.
There are around 600 expat lawyers in Oman courts. They can, however, function as legal advisers, solicitors or legal counsellors, legal sources, writers, clerks or the like which doesn’t require him or her to represent a case in the court, according to Article 67 of the Lawyers Law.
“We would like to thank all non-Omani lawyers for their contributions to the legal profession in the Sultanate since the issuance of the Lawyers Law No 108/1996, and we will continue to benefit from their services where the law permits them to function.”
There are more than 60 law firms, the majority of which are in Muscat Governorate, with 203 offices and 40 companies. North Batinah Governorate came second with 62 offices and 7 firms. Only 112 Omani lawyers are representing their clients at the Supreme Court while more than 254 non-Omani lawyers appear at the same court.
“We are thankful to non-Omani lawyers for their contributions and are expecting many Omani youngsters to become lawyers and enroll in the various upper courts of the Sultanate,” Khalifa al Abri, Lawyer, Adviser to Oman Lawyers Association, said.