Egypt: Gov’t To Create New Body To Replace Judges’ Club

In continuation of the mounting showdown between the Judges’ Club and the government, Minister of Justice Mamdouh Maree issued a decree allowing the setting up of offices in courts to be in charge of judges’ affairs, a step seen by judges as a substitute for the Judges’ Club and its subsidiary offices nationwide, which poses a threat to the role played by the Club in facilitating all judges’ social, professional and legal services.

The Minister of Justice had earlier in September issued an order enjoining the courtsto set up an office in each bench to cater for the judges. The decision was referred to the courts’ general assemblies so that they lay down a mechanism for implementation. These offices are mainly aimed to provide judges with health, social and familial services which the Judges Club already in charge of. These newly established offices will open late everyday and even round the clock in some places, including major holidays.

 They are also given authority to resolve all the Judges problems including financial ones, even rendering  services on behalf of any judge who happens to be on vacation or away on a mission. Head of Alexandria Judges’ Club Chief Justice Mahmoud el Khodairy said in an exclusive statement to Ikhwanweb that setting up such offices in courts is an embezzlement of public fund now that such services are rendered through the Judges’ Club. Rather, he continued, they have been set up to replace, and of course, eliminate the role of the Club.

 Al Khodairy wondered how these offices are set up to cater for the judges “ while the Minister himself declines to meet the judges and listen to their grievances”, he said, lamenting that this step is aimed to overshadow the active role played by the Club in favor of the judges especially after the recent positions adopted by the Judges’ Club in defending of the judges’ interest and preserving the reputation of judiciary in Egypt .

 However, Al Khodairy expects that such an experiment will be a failure, hailing the Judges’ Club as a time tested body which, unlike the recently set up offices, has rendered services for the judges indiscriminately and regardless of their positions and posts within the judiciary circle.

 It is noted that a rift has widened between the Judges’ Club and the government since the recent parliamentary elections- in which the judges demanded a full oversight of the entire election process- and further worsened after the law on judiciary authority, which the government has enacted without approval of the Club. Since it was set up in 1939, the Judges’ Club has been regarded as  one of Egypt’s most prominent establishments.

 It has witnessed several showdowns with successive governments in Egypt, foremost among which was in 1969 when Nasser’s regime suspended 133 prominent judges, including chief justices, who spearheaded a legal battle for independence of judiciary in Egypt.

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