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Egypt's administrative court lets 2 senior judges challenge 2017 judicial authority law in constitutional court

The two judges, Yahia Dakroury and Mohamed Mady, oppose the new law, which authorizes the Egyptian president to select top judges from a short-list of candidates

Ahram Online , Sunday 26 Nov 2017
constitutional court
File Photo: Supreme Constitutional Court in Cairo (Photo: Al-ahram)

Egypt's administrative court has granted two of its most senior judges permission to appeal against a presidential decision to bypass them in appointing the new heads of Egypt's top judicial bodies.

The two judges will be allowed to take their case before the Supreme Constitution Court, appealing the 2017 judicial authorities law, which regulates the process of making appointments.

However, the administrative court also ruled on Saturday that the judges' appeals will be postponed to February, pending the constitutional court decision.

The appeals with the adminstrative court were filed by Judge Yahia Dakroury, the first deputy of the State Council, and Judge Mohamed Mady, first deputy of the State Lawsuits Authority, which represents the government in legal cases.

Before the judicial authorities law was passed in the spring, the two men were next in line to become chiefs of the boards of their respective bodies.

The new legislation, which was ratified by President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, gave the president the right to appoint the chiefs of the country's top judicial bodies by choosing from three nominees put forward by their boards.

The law was rejected by several judicial bodies who said it undermines the independence of the judiciary and ignores long-estabilished seniority protocols in the appointment of heads of judicial authorities.

The new law applies to the country’s top judicial bodies: the State Lawsuits Authority; the Administrative Prosecution; the Court of Cassation; and the State Council.

Prior to the passing of the law, the heads of judicial bodies were selected based on seniority, with the president merely ratifying the selection.

The law states that if the boards fail to fulfill the nomination requirement, the president has the right to choose a new head from among the seven senior-most judges on the board.

The administrative court on Saturday allowed judges Dakroury and Mady to appeal against the law before the country's Supreme Constitutional Court, endorsing a report submitted by a adgvisory State Council Commissioners office which sited possible flaws in the law that could render privisions of the law unconstitutional, based on the country's 2014 constitution.

The commission's report found reasons to suggest that the law violates a number of articles in the constitution stating that the executive authority may not interfere with the jurisdiction of the judicial authority, with each judicial body appointing its head, and the president only endorsing the appointment to guarantee separation between authorities.

The appeals before the administrative court were postponed to 17 February, allowing time for the Supreme Constitutional Court to decide on appeals against the law itself.

In July, President El-Sisi appointed Judge Ahmed Abu Al-Azm, the fourth most senior judge on the State Council, as the new head of the council after the outgoing head reached the age of retirement, thus bypassing the two senior-most judges on the council's board.

In the past three months, the president appointed new heads of three other judicial bodies – the Administrative Prosecution, the State Lawsuits Authority and the Court of Cassation – after each nominated a list of three candidates following the retirement of outgoing heads.

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