The law of Economic Courts violates the guarantees of judiciary independence in Egypt

June 25th, 2008 by Editor

At the end of a workshop held by EOHR on 16/6/2008 entitled  “The law of economic courts … positives and negatives “ , economists and law experts confirmed the useless of law No.120 of 2008 related to the establishment  of the economic courts as the law will prove its failure as soon as putting into effect on the next of October 2008 besides that the judiciary system will be confused . It violates the guarantees of judiciary power represented in judiciary independence and judiciary unit and equality before judiciary .Also the government enacted the law without discussing it with specialists ,so it came to express about a single point of view as similar to other laws and legislations .   

 

 

Mr. Hafez Abu Seada, secretary general of EOHR , initiated his speech by saying that the law of economic courts made disparity in the point of views  among economists and law experts during its discussion and after its declaration . Some of specialists confirm its importance because the procedures of these economic courts were taken along period of time to be carried out  when they discussed in the civilian courts and complaints were harmed by this lengthening .Also  the law is considered a significant addition for legislations related to the economic activity in general and investment activity in particular , while others see that the economic courts are normal courts and have no advantage over the civilian courts. Abu Seada added that EOHR decided to hold a workshop to discuss the different point of views concerning this law and discussing the positive and negatives included and discussing the legal and economical influences resulting from the establishment of  these courts .

 

Mr. Mahmoud El Wali , chief in editor assistant of Al Ahram newspaper for economic affairs ,gives a historical  background about the economic courts .He indicated that the law No. 120 /2008 concerning the establishment of economic courts issued on 22/5/2005 and will be valid on 1/10/2008 . These courts will be formed with the jurisdiction per each appeal court . These courts are head by a president from the appeal courts and he is authorized to one renewable year .Also the courts are formed by first instance circles and appeal circles . The first instance circles are formed  by 3 heads from heads of the first instance courts  .These circles will discuss misdemeanor cases in the 17 economic laws and will discuss litigations not more than 5 millions L.E . As for the appeal circles , they are formed by 3 judges from the appeal courts and they will discuss criminal cases in the 17 economic laws and other litigations more than 5 millions L.E or non-estimated value.

 

The economic expert added that the economic courts will discuss a set of criminal litigations arising from crimes stipulated in the 17 economic laws as follows :

 

       The penal code related to insolvency crimes

       Trade law related to the crimes of insolvency preventive conciliation .

       Electronic signature and the establishment of IT industry

       Insurance Supervision

       Joint – stock companies

       The capital market

       Investment

        Leasing

       Central depository

       Real estate financing

       The protection of intellectual property

       Central Bank

       Companies receiving funds

       Dumping

       The protection of competition

        Consumer protection

       Communication regularity

 

El Wali condemned Law No.120 /2008 in the light of several powers enjoyed by Minister of Justice who has the right to appoint the head of the economic court and determines headquarters of first instance and appeal circles for the economic courts .Also he decides to hold  first instance and appeal circles in other premises .  

 

Among other deficiencies which come over the law , Al Wali confirmed that the law of economic courts will establish an exceptional judiciary which distinguishes a particular category of the population despite the fact that the rules of public law  requires the submission of all population to one judiciary side regardless of the nature of cases  and disputes. Also the law violated the competence  of State Council to determine the competence of economic courts to discuss disputes arising from 17 economic laws .Also the law was not submitted to Legal Advice and Legislation Department of the State Council the matter which conflicts with the law of State Council No. 72 /1972 and it was not submitted to the chambers of commerce or industries federation or businessmen associations or law experts .

 

Al Wali called for establishing specialist circles for first instance and appeal courts similar to taxes ,workers ,vital statistics and  rent circles on the condition that judges should be chosen from whom they took training courses in economic laws.

 

Dr. Samir El Sharkawy , professor of commercial law –Cairo university  agreed with Al Wali as he condemned the law and confirmed its failure when putting into effect in the next of October as happened in Syria .It includes several legal and constitutional defects as it violates the right of complainant to appeal against decisions issued by first instance circles of the economic courts . This is considered a clear violation for citizens’ rights to resort to high degree of courts .Also This law will confound the judiciary system in Egypt . He added that there is no use issuing this law which has been  justified by other to be issued as a desire of specialization . He added that it was better to establish circles instead of economic courts .He clarified that the government prepared the law without submitting it to the experts of legislations and professors of commercial law , it was prepared by Ministry Of Justice and approved by the Supreme Judicial Council then transmitted by  Minister of Justice directly to the Cabinet , then to Shura Council, then to People’s Assembly.

 

Mr. Essam AL Aslambouly , lawyer at cassation court , agreed with them as he called for the necessary of canceling law No. 120 /2008 and establish specialized circles .This law was enacted to serve businessmen as he indicated that the economic law is a result of the political environment in Egypt and this environment affected the issued laws .

 

Al Aslambouly confirmed that the law strikes  the judiciary unit and eliminates its independence and equality before it. This law violates International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in article 14 which confirms that the establishment of special courts is a clear violation which not only threats the judiciary power and its independence but also the unit of law .

 

Mr. Ahmed Abdul Hafiz ,lawyer at cassation court , confirmed that what is happening now is vacuum legislation aims at striking the independence of judiciary and its power upon citizens without distinction .So there is no use justifying these kind of laws to encourage investment .He called for establishing an institution for training judges .                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Mr. Mohamed Abdul Mawlah, counselor ,disagreed with other mentioned opinions as he said that it is not acceptable to admit the failure of this law , we should wait for its application and see if it will facilitate litigation procedures related to the economic pattern .Also there will be specialized judges to discuss this kinds of disputes .He expressed his hope that this law succeeded in achieving its goals by virtue of the Egyptian judges adding that the safety valve of the country lies in its fair judiciary and reforming any legislative system is not separated from taking care of judges themselves .

 

It is worth noting that this workshop comes within the framework of the unit of supporting judiciary and facilitating procedures of litigations . This workshop follows the legislative reform forum established in January 2007 supported by the European union and includes professors of constitutional laws and some partisan leaders and members of People’s assembly and human rights activists .

 

This forum aims at amending the national legislations in accordance with the international standards for human rights stipulated in the international covenants concerned with human rights which were ratified by the Egyptian government through suggesting new bills imposed by the nature of the present situation and go a long with the international standards for human rights . As well as pressure to abolish such restricted laws which violate the civil  work, and finally discuss the bills submitted to the People’s Assembly and Shura Council and invite experts  for comment, to be submitted to  the president of republic and the president of  People’s Assembly and Shura Council.

 

 

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