Lack of legal knowledge continues to be a widespread social issue: Attorneys In Kuwait, there were about 2,740 court cases filed every day in 2023, according to data released by the ministry of justice. This begs the question: would the number of legal disputes continue to be high if people realized that some of the things they did on a daily basis were crimes with legal consequences?
Building legal literacy is still not considered a public priority, despite technological advancements and easier access to a wide range of information, according to attorney Aljawhara Abdulredha. According to Abdulredha, “people are unaware that laws were put in place in the first place to protect them from getting involved in these kinds of disputes; they only seek legal consultation after a legal dispute has already occurred.”
As Abdulredha stated, virtually everything in this world—whether it be social, political, or economic—is impacted by law in some way. Thus, she pointed out, it is definitely necessary to acquire a basic understanding of the law or to consult with attorneys beforehand before conflicts arise.
According to Abdulredha, the root cause of this illiteracy is people’s fear of defying social norms and standards, which pushes them to constantly err on the side of caution and avoid trouble, depriving them of many of their rights in the process. She confirmed, “Society views someone who inquires about their rights on a regular basis as a troublemaker.”
Abdulredha noted that even when people make an effort to learn more about this crucial aspect of life, they typically obtain their information from dubious sources, such as unreliable social media platforms or individuals who lack professionalism. She urged people to always use reputable attorneys, emphasizing that in order to prevent being duped, they should thoroughly research the backgrounds and experiences of the attorneys in question before hiring them.
“Legal awareness is crucial based on the legal principle that says, ‘the law does not protect fools,'” according to attorney Sultan Al-Shemali. This means that claiming that you committed a crime or lost your legal rights because you were ignorant of the law is not an acceptable defense.
Shemali mentioned the “statute of limitations,” a well-known statute that many people are unaware of. A statute of limitations governs the amount of time a person has following the alleged offense to bring legal action against a business or an individual.
He pointed out that the cybercrimes law is one instance of this. For example, the time frame in which an individual has the right to lodge a complaint against someone they have encountered abusing social media is limited to six months. Even in the event that all the evidence points to a criminal conviction after this period, there is a genuine chance that the accused will run out of time and avoid punishment.
Shemali brought up another typical situation in which someone demands payment for something they have purchased. It is preferable to make the demand within the allotted three years, as failure to do so could result in the statute of limitations taking full effect. He underlined, “To prevent losing your rights or getting yourself into trouble, you must have at least the bare minimum of legal knowledge.”
Attorney Nawaf Alwahaib brought attention to one of the most prevalent issues stemming from legal illiteracy: individuals signing official documents mindlessly without consulting a lawyer to ensure they understand their contents. As a result, someone may sign up without understanding the risk they are accepting under the terms of the contract, which may contain a number of clauses imposing risks and liabilities.
Attorney Lina Adlouni repeated the sentiments of all the earlier attorneys when she said, “Ignorance of the law is no excuse.” Since Adlouni specializes in the investment and business sector, she remembered seeing instances in which lawsuits are brought against employers and employees or between business partners because parties signed contracts without fully comprehending their rights and obligations.
Adlouni listed a number of reliable sources from which the public can obtain basic legal information. One such source is Kuwait Alyawm, the official government gazette that informs the public of the government’s decisions, actions, and legal notices. She also recommended attending events held by the Kuwait Society of Lawyers, which are public and primarily focus on the most recent laws and regulations. Finally, she advised visiting reputable government websites, like the ministry of justice, to obtain accurate information.