Minister of Justice orders formation of legal, judicial expert committee to draft balanced personal status law

El-Sayed Gamal El-Din , Sunday 5 Jun 2022

Egypt’s Minister of Justice Omar Marwan issued a decree on Sunday ordering the formation of a legal and judicial expert committee to draft a balanced personal law for Muslims in Egypt within four months.

Omar Marwan
Egypt s Minister of Justice Omar Marwan

 

According to the decree, which is based upon President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi’s directive, the committee is headed by Judge Abdel-Rahman Hanafi, the president of Tanta Court of Cassation, and is composed of ten judges, mostly from family courts.

The committee includes two women, Judge Dalia Ibrahim and Judge Amina Ismail.

The committee is assigned to draft a law that minimises judicial conflicts.

The four month deadline may be extended, according to the justice minister.

The committee will receive suggestions regarding amendments to the personal law through email ([email protected]) over the next 15 days.

The committee will hold its meetings at the Ministry of Justice in Cairo and will be aided by a number of administrative employees in the ministry, the decree said. It has also the right to request all the statistical data and information from official institutions in Egypt for drafting the law

The head of the committee is to form an advisory committee from specialists to ask for its counsel in the matters of personal law issues including medical, social, financial, religious and other issues.

On Saturday, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi held a meeting in Cairo with Justice Minister Omar Marwan where he urged the formation of a committee of legal and judicial experts specialised in family courts and lawsuits to enact a balanced personal status draft law for Muslims.

El-Sisi’s directives come less than a month after he highlighted an urgent need for a new balanced personal status law in Egypt to solve family issues honestly and impartially amid a sharp increase in divorce rate in the country.

The parliament has been under pressure over the past years to pass a new personal status law that regulates marriage, divorce, engagement, guardianship and custody.

A draft personal status law submitted to the parliament by the government in February last year was reportedly recalled for review amid controversy stirred by several parts of the draft bill.

In March 2021, the president said that the government is keen to see that any new law would be balanced and served the public’s interest.

Egypt’s Islamic authority, Al-Azhar, also presented during the same time a draft bill for the personal status law, which also has not been passed.

Judge Abdullah El-Baga, the current president of Cairo Appeals Court and the former president of the Family Appeals Court, has said both draft bills were full of legal gaps due to the “stretchy words” in the text which led to their eventual failure to be issued as laws.

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