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Abu Dhabi: Saudi Arabia plans to reform the legal system to restrain malicious, fictitious litigation and provide some comfort to those faced with the cost and frustration of defending repeated, unmeritorious actions instigated by the same party, local media reported.

Malicious litigation, legally known as vexatious litigation, is legal action, which is brought solely to harass or subdue an adversary. It may take the form of a primary frivolous lawsuit or may be the repetitive, burdensome, and unwarranted filing of meritless motions in a matter, which is otherwise a meritorious cause of action. Filing vexatious litigation is an abuse of the judicial process and may result in sanctions against the offender.

The move will provide for compensation for victims of such meritless and malicious lawsuits.

A single action, even a frivolous one, is usually not enough to raise a litigant to the level of being declared vexatious. Rather, a pattern of frivolous legal actions is typically required to rise to the level of vexatious. Repeated and severe instances by a single lawyer or firm can result in eventual disbarment.

Legal sources said the Ministry of Justice has completed a draft law to amend the pleadings system to strengthen the provisions for compensation for litigation damages, protect rights of litigants, reduce lawsuits before the courts, facilitate access to litigation, and speed up the delivery of the right to victims of such frivolous legal actions.

Turki Dhafer Al Qarni, former judge of the Mecca Criminal Court, said the reform will stop abuse of the legal system and be a major turning point in reparation for moral damage, caused by litigants who file meritless lawsuits.