The parliamentary Constitutional and Legislation Affairs Committee postponed on Monday discussions on the amendment of the Judicial Authority Law, in response to a request by the undersecretary of the committee, Ahmed El-Sherif.
El-Sherif requested postponing the discussions after Egypt’s Supreme Judicial Council rejected a bill aiming to amend the hiring methods of presidents of judiciary authorities. The rejection of the Supreme Judicial Council is legally binding.
This bill was submitted by El-Sherif and another 10 members of parliament (MPs).
El-Sherif’s bill aimed at changing a standard hiring method of selecting the heads of judiciary committees. The new method would have included choosing three nominees during the voting of the general assemblies of each authority and then sending their names to the president to decide one of them. Assemblies of such authorities currently nominate the oldest members of each assembly and send their names to the president for confirmation.
El-Sherif said that he wants to postpone the discussion, in order to have time for reviewing and studying the reasons of the council’s rejection—in order to consider them in the general discussions of the law, while he also asserted that he respects declarations of the judiciary.
Parliament’s constitutional committee has also forwarded the bill to all other judicial authorities to provide their views regarding it.
However, MP and lawyer Mortada Mansour criticised the postponement of the discussions over the full law, saying that this might be viewed as an attempt of hiring certain figures, especially that that there are rumours in judicial circles that there are intentions for appointing certain people to vacant positions.
The hiring method of authorities’ presidents is part of the Judicial Authority Law. Consecutively, the committee held general discussions over it before putting up a bill for voting in the parliament.
The Egyptian Judges’ Club welcomed the postponement of the discussions, believing that this is paying respect to one of the highest judicial entities in the country. It previously rejected the bill and depicted it as a violation that does not take into account judges’ seniority.
Proponents of the concept of choosing the judges based on their seniority say it guarantees the great experience and knowledge of the nominees. Many judges previously expressed their rejection of changing this decades-old concept.
The judiciary authorities are the Supreme Judicial Council, the State Council, the State Commissioners Authority, and the Administrative Prosecution. Heads of the aforementioned authorities were all appointed based on their seniority.