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Demand for women notaries on the rise
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 20 - 07 - 2016

RIYADH — The demand for women lawyers working as notaries public is rising with the recent announcement by Minister of Justice Waleed Al-Samaani to open new sections exclusively for women in the ministry.
Lawyer Bayan Zahran said appointing women lawyers as notaries will improve the quality of services and raise civil rights awareness in the community.
"Women are one half of society. Catering to women and their legal rights will raise the level of awareness about people's rights and responsibilities as citizens. Women are more comfortable with being represented by women. Having women notaries will solve many of the social issues women face," said Zahran.
She said the decision to employ more women in the ministry will also increase the need for qualified women to represent legal cases and act as notaries public.
"Women are highly sensitive when dealing with many issues and they prefer to have other women rather than men to represent them in courts. They are less shy and more comfortable approaching female lawyers to discuss women-specific issues, which are hard to understand by men," said Zahran.
She said many women have fallen victims to legal agents who abuse their legal knowledge to exploit clients.
"Most women do not trust such legal agents. By employing women in the ministry, they will have trustworthy people to tackle their issues. Women occupying new positions proposed by the ministry should be well trained in dealing with clients and must have sufficient knowledge of both common and Islamic law," said Zahran.
Social activist Amounah Tawakul said women should occupy jobs in legal documentation with privileges equal to their male counterparts.
"Allowing women to seek legal help from other women will help create trust in legal representatives and distribute the workload as often times notaries public are extremely busy and women feel discouraged by having to wait in a mixed environment," said Tawakul.
Businesswoman Nuzha Mohammad said women working as notaries is a positive step for Saudi society.
"It will distribute the workload between men and women notaries and women will feel more comfortable to ask questions freely and openly," said Mohammad.
Abeer Al-Quthami said in the new circumstances women will not need a guardian to represent them.
"Women will not need to be identified in front of their legal representative and their national ID will serve as sufficient proof.
Usually women are required to bring witnesses to testify their identity in front of male notaries. But with this new development women can have direct interactions with the notaries," said Al-Quthami.
Fatima Al-Zahrani said the ministry's decision to open more women's sections is a positive move, which will improve the status of women in society.

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