The Civil and Commercial Procedures Law is one of the primary laws upon which the Egyptian Judiciary System is based, as it is considered the general procedural legislation that applies to all lawsuits; however, the Egyptian legislator, as the rest of the trends pursued in the world states, tends to the concept of pluralism of procedural laws regulating proceedings inside the Egyptian courts of law, such as the Criminal Procedures Law, Personal Status Law, State Council Law, Economic Courts Law, Arbitration Law, etc., and adopts the dual judiciary system where the judicial function is held by two independent judicial entities; one of which takes cognizance of disputes arising out among individuals and is known as the ordinary judiciary that includes the Civil Law, Criminal Law, etc. It is the entity having general jurisdiction, while the other entity considers the administrative disputes and is known as the administrative judiciary. In addition to those primary entities in the Egyptian Judiciary system, there are many special judicial structures established to adjudicate on certain types of disputes deemed by the Egyptian legislator to be subjected to the jurisdiction of special entities rather than the ordinary judiciary.
First: Purposes of Pluralism of Laws Regulating Litigation Proceedings in Egypt; the prominent thereof are represented in the following:
- Fulfilling the obligations set forth in the Egyptian Constitution in a manner achieving the desired legislative and constitutional harmonization;
- The irrelevancy of the proceedings related to the commercial and civil pleadings to all lawsuits;
- Filling the legislative gap in relation to the regulation of litigation proceedings in a manner being concordant to the nature of lawsuits and to the new cases at courts;
- The administration of perfect justice among litigants by setting rules accelerating lawsuits without prejudice to respecting the freedom of litigation and securing defense rights;
- Guaranteeing the progress of lawsuits and evidence relating thereto in a manner leading to the administration of justice;
- Shutting the door on circumvention and misuse of the litigation right and proceedings, including challenging judgments and hindering their enforcement.
Second: Sections and Competence of Egyptian Judiciary System:
- Ordinary Judiciary:
- Court of Cassation: it is at the top of the Egyptian Judiciary Hierarchy and has a role to unify the application of law inside courts of law, as it does not re-adjudicate on the disputes presented and brought from inferior courts, but it merely controls the judgments issued by those courts to check to what extent they are in adherence to the law. However, in some cases, it has jurisdiction over lawsuits as a trial court.
- Courts of Appeal: they have jurisdiction over the judgments that are rendered by the courts of first instance situated within their circuits, and that are appealable, and over specific lawsuits filed before them; in this case, they perform their duties as first-degree courts, not as second-decree ones. There are eight courts of appeal all over the Republic: Qena Court of Appeal, Assiut Court of Appeal, Beni Suef Court of Appeal, Ismailia Court of Appeal, Mansoura Court of Appeal, Alexandria Court of Appeal, Cairo Court of Appeal, and Tanta Court of Appeal. As for governorates within which no courts of appeal exist, circuits are established therefor.
- Courts of First Instance: they have jurisdiction over all commercial and civil lawsuits, except those that became under the jurisdiction of other courts. Each court of first instance comprises a sufficient number of chiefs and judges. Its rulings are rendered in cases brought there before, which fall within its territorial and temporal jurisdiction, and the issued rulings are subject to appeal. The Court of First Instance also has appellate jurisdiction over the appeals lodged against the rulings of district courts, as it is a court of second degree. The headquarters of the Court of First Instance is located at the capitals of each Egyptian governorate. There are 37 Courts of First Instance nationwide.
- District Courts: These courts have jurisdiction over civil and criminal cases of limited significance falling within the scope of their territorial and temporal jurisdiction.
- Summary Courts: They have jurisdiction over disputes that may be subject to a temporary adjudication that does not affect the origin of the right. Rather, its rulings are limited to taking a temporary measure that is binding on both parties, with the aim of preserving the existing conditions, respecting the apparent rights, and considering the interests of the conflicting parties.
- Family Courts: Have jurisdiction over all personal status cases.
- Economic Courts: The economic courts of both first instance and appeal degrees have, exclusively, qualitative and territorial jurisdiction to hear criminal cases arising from the crimes stipulated in the following laws: the Penal Code in the matter of coins and paper currency forgery and counterfeit crimes, the Law on Insurance Supervision and Control in Egypt, the Law on Joint Stock Companies, Partnerships Limited by Shares, Limited Liability Companies, and One-person Companies, Capital Market Law, etc.
- Public Prosecution: It is part of the judicial authority in Egypt. The Public Prosecution's work entails filing and prosecuting criminal cases on behalf of the society before the competent authorities and courts, either by referring them to the court or by issuing a decision with the dismiss of such cases. The Public Prosecution carries out its competences towards penal actions in its capacity as a representative of society and a representative of the public right, with the aim of achieving justice and applying the law.
- State Council:
- Judicial Section
- Supreme Administrative Court: Consists of two circuits, one for examination and one for rulings. The supreme administrative court has jurisdiction over the appeals submitted thereto by the Administrative Court as well as the appeals related to the members of judicial bodies with respect to their judicial duties. The rulings rendered by the supreme administrative courts are enforceable and final and may not be appealed against.
- Administrative Judicial Court: It has jurisdiction over the appeals of administrative decisions, tax and fee disputes, and nationality claims.
- Administrative Courts: Have jurisdiction over the disputes of insignificant value that are not considered by the Administrative Judicial Court.
- Disciplinary Courts: Have jurisdiction over the cases related to the discipline of state employees that are initiated by the Administrative Prosecution, the Central Auditing Organization, or the Head of Administrative Body.
- State Commissioners Authority: Concerned with the preparation of lawsuits filed before the State Council and the preparation thereof for adjudication and drafting reports concerning these lawsuits. Its opinion is advisory and non-binding to the court.
- Fatwa and Legislative Section
- Fatwa Department: Concerned with expressing opinions on public issues in which a Ministry, an Agency or a Governmental Authority requests an opinion.
- Legislative Department: Concerned with drafting laws and regulations legally, and the omission of presenting laws and regulations to the Legislative Department results in the invalidity thereof.
- Supreme Constitutional Court: The Supreme Court in the Arab Republic of Egypt. It consists of a president, a deputy or more, and a sufficient number of advisors. Its rulings are rendered by seven advisors. Its mission is to monitor the conformity of laws with the Articles of the Constitution. It cancels the laws that contradict with the articles of the Constitution, and its rulings are final and cannot be appealed against in any
- Military Judiciary: It is an independent judicial body. It is formed from military courts of law and prosecution offices, and other branches of the judiciary pursuant to the laws and regulations of the Armed Forces. Military Judiciary is exclusively competent to consider the crimes that fall within its jurisdiction in accordance with the provisions of the laws and regulations of the Armed Forces, as well as other crimes that fall within its jurisdiction in accordance with any other law.
- State Security Courts: It is an independent judicial body the jurisdiction of which is in considering all crimes affecting the internal and external security of the State. Such courts are divided into the Supreme State Security Court and State Security Court of Summary jurisdiction. The Supreme State Security Court is located in Cairo.
- Administrative Prosecution: An independent judicial body affiliated with the Minister of Justice, established pursuant to Law No. 480 of 1954. The panel is formed from a president who is appointed by a decision of the President of the Republic and before him the oath is administered, and a sufficient number of vice-presidents, Senior Public Prosecutors, Deputy Prosecutors, and assistants thereof. It is competent with investigating administrative violations committed by Sate and Public Sector employees.
Third: Litigation Proceedings in Egypt, represented as follows:
Litigation proceedings in Egypt vary according to the nature and type of the dispute (the lawsuit), such proceedings are determined according to the applicable law; however, we can list such proceedings in general as follows:
Submitting a complaint: The complaint is submitted to the competent authority, whether it is the Public Prosecution, the Civil Court, or the Administrative Court.
– Investigation: The complaint is investigated by the competent authority, evidence and testimonies are collected, and information is verified.
– Referring the file to the court: After the completion of the investigation, the file is referred to the competent court, whether it is a criminal, civil, or administrative court.
– Court Hearings: Court hearings are held to consider the lawsuit, verify evidence and testimonies, listen to the concerned parties, witnesses, and experts, and present evidence and arguments.
– Rendering of a judgment: Upon completion of the court hearings, consideration of the evidence, and arguments, the court renders its judgment.
– Appealing against a judgment: The parties concerned can appeal against a judgment if they are not satisfied with it, and the appeal is considered before a higher court.
– Enforcement: After the final judgment is rendered, it is enforced by the concerned authorities.
Based on the foregoing, it is manifest that the judicial system in Egypt is a dual system, in which litigation proceedings are subject to many laws, aiming at fulfilling the obligations set forth in the Egyptian Constitution, as well as achieving prompt justice for litigants by setting rules that expedite the completion of cases in a manner that does not prejudice respect for freedom of litigation and guarantee the rights to defense. In order to ensure the conduct of lawsuits and evidence related therewith in a manner that leads to achieving justice, in addition to a multitude of objectives that achieve the desired constitutional and legislative harmonization. Litigation proceedings in Egypt are determined according to the nature and type of the dispute (the lawsuit) and in accordance with the applicable law for each case independently; starting from determining the court that has the jurisdiction to handle the incident in terms of type and place. Then the lawsuit proceedings, and finally rendering the court orders and enforcement thereof.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.