Saudi Arabia's justice minister says his department is drafting a law that would allow female lawyers to argue legal cases in court for the first time.

Sheik Mohammed al-Issa told reporters Saturday the bill will be issued in the coming days as part of the Saudi king's "plan to develop the justice system."

The law would mark a major step for female lawyers in the kingdom. Currently, women law graduates can work in government offices and in court offices, but cannot argue cases before court.

Under the new law, women would be allowed to argue cases on child custody, divorce and other family-related issues.

Women in Saudi Arabia are nearly totally segregated from men in public life.