Saudi Arabia could soon allow women lawyers to appear in court to argue cases for the first time.
Mohammed al-Issa, the justice minister, said the government is drafting a new law to permit female lawyers to argue family-related cases, including divorce and child custody.
The proposed new law will be issued "in the coming days", Saudi newspapers reported on Sunday.
The female lawyers would be able to represent women in marriage, divorce, custody and other family cases, the newspapers said.
At the moment, female lawyers in the kingdom can only work behind the scenes in government and court offices, where they do not come into contact with men.
All judges in the kingdom are male religious clerics.
As part of ongoing judicial reforms, the Saudi government is developing a network of specialised courts, including "personal status" or family courts, where the women lawyers would be allowed to practice.
Women in Saudi Arabia are nearly totally segregated from men in public life.