Egypt parliament – the House of Representatives – approved Monday evening a new law (17/1983) regulating the performance of the Bar Association.
Parliament speaker Ali Abdel-Aal said the law will be referred to the State Council to be revised in Constitutional and Legislative terms.
According to a report prepared by parliament's Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee, the law, drafted by MP Tharwat Bekhit, aims to boost independence of lawyers and affords them greater protection while working in courts.
The report also said the law seeks to double the association revenues and raise the professional standard of lawyers in terms of setting up an academy that will take charge of training graduates of the faculties of law.
Leftist MPs launched scathing attacks against the law, insisting that it was tailored to allow the current chairman of the Bar Association Sameh Ashour to run for a third term.
"Laws should serve general and public objectives, and not personal interests," said leftist MP Diaaeddin Dawoud, adding that "article 136 in the current law which stipulates that head of the Association can't be elected more than two terms was revoked by the proposed draft, and this shows that it aims to serve personal interests."
In response, parliament speaker Ali Abdel-Aal indicated that "Egypt's 2014 constitution does not stipulate that heads of professional syndicates should be elected for only two terms."
"The only stipulation in the constitution is that the president of the republic can't stay in office for more than two terms," said Abdel.
The law stipulates that lawyers can't be named as speakers of any of parliament's two chambers – the House of Representatives and the Senate.
The law includes a new chapter related to setting up an academy that will be tasked with training recent law graduates, before they join the Association.