All judges and not just their leaders will be consulted on any proposed amendment to the Judiciary Law if the Shura Council attempts to amend it, Judges’ Club Chairman Ahmed Al-Zind said.
In a Tuesday press conference following a meeting between the club and the Supreme Judiciary Council Al-Zind announced that the two organisations were in “complete agreement” on how to approach the issue of the Shura Council amending the Judiciary Law and that if the upper house of parliament requires the opinion of judges on the amendments “they will receive an answer that pleases all judges”.
Al-Zind said that Article 169 of the constitution which specifies that the general assemblies of all judicial bodies are consulted on any legislation concerning the judiciary would be applied and that the Judges’ Club and Supreme Judiciary Council (SJC) would push hard for that.
Supreme Judiciary Council Chairman and Court of Cassation Chief Justice Momtaz Metwali in turn announced that the Shura Council had yet to refer any proposed amendments to him or the council and that if the upper house were to do so, all judges would be consulted.
The Shura Council referredthe proposed amendments to its Committee on Constitutional and Legislative Affairs on Saturday while speaker of the council, Ahmed Fahmy, stressed that the legislative body would not encroach on the independence of the judiciary.
The presidency had previously attempted to calm the polarisation surrounding the Judiciary Law amendments by calling for a Justice Conference to discuss judicial reform as it related to the proposed amendments. However, the Judges’ Club announced it would boycott the conference while the SJC decided it would stop preparations for the conference.
The possible changes to the Judiciary Law is a continuation of tensions between Egypt’s judicial, executive and legislative bodies, which take root in President Mohamed Morsi’s constitutional decree in November ousting Prosecutor General Abdel Meguid Mahmoud and appointing Tala’at Abdullah in his place.
The decree also called for the retrial of Mubarak-era killers of protesters, and other aspects interpreted by the judiciary as an infringement on its independence.