Egypt’s lawyers to suspend strike

The general assembly of the Lawyers Syndicate has suspended its peaceful strike, saying that lawyers will resume their legal work in courts on Tuesday.

However, syndicate lawyers said on Monday that they would keep the assembly in permanent session in case judges adopt proposed changes to Judicial Authority Law 142/2006,which the assembly opposed. The lawyers argue these changes will strip them of their rights.

Shortly after being appointed as Egypt’s top judge in July, Hossam al-Gheriany, a leading figure in the independent judiciary movement, appointed  prominent Judge Ahmed Mekky to head the committee responsible for drafting a law to replace the widely maligned Judicial Authority Law.

However, the head of the Egyptian Judges Club, Ahmed al-Zend, has also proposed a draft of amendments that differs from Mekky’s.

The difference between the two drafts centers around the extent to which the judiciary should be independent of the executive branch of government. 

But syndicate lawyers claim that both drafts will have a negative impact on their profession if they become law.

The lawyers particularly reject a provision that would give judges the authority to detain lawyers if they “disturb” a court session. They claim that such vague language could be used to weaken their legal immunity.

During a general assembly session, lawyers called for the proposed amendments to be put on hold until the election of a new parliament.

Lawyers are also demanding that the judicial system be purged of judges who took part in rigging the 2005 parliamentary elections.

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