Institute for the Study and Development of Legal Systems


OUNTRY PROJECTS

EGYPT

A HISTORY OF THE CIVIL JUSTICE PROJECT

The following is a brief chronology of the Egyptian legal exchange project, including dates, scope, locations and relevant personnel, and most importantly, the developments.

January 1992 - A two-week introductory program conducted at the National Center for Judicial Studies in Cairo and at Alexandria University, Faculty of Law. The program included criminal jury trials, civil non-jury trials, an appellate argument and many lectures on the U.S. legal processes. Every demonstration and lecture was followed by public commentary (government and non-government attendees). There was some preliminary discussion about the reform of the civil justice process.

The American Legal Delegation during the January 1992 program included Chief Judge Matthew Byrne of the California Central District Federal Court (the largest district court in the United States), Circuit Judge Pamela Rymer of the United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Federal Judge Fern Smith of the Northern California District, and Attorneys Doug Young, Robert Goodin, John Keker and Stephen Mayo.

November 1992 - Four days of meetings with the Minister of Justice, the Speaker of the Parliament, the president and administrative council of the Bar Association and with the Cairo University Dean and law faculty. Each expressed considerable interest in the study. The Minister of Justice asked ISDLS to conduct a study of both the civil and criminal justice processes in order to recommend improvements to the processes.

The American Legal Delegation during the November 1992 program included Chief Justice Malcolm Lucas of the California Supreme Court (the largest court system in the world), Chief Judge Matthew Byrne and Attorney Stephen Mayo.

February 1993 - A two-week assessment of the practical operation and problems of the civil justice processes. Through interviews and meetings, we gathered some critical information which required more study of the problems.

American Legal Delegates involved in the assessment included Judge Winslow Christian (retired Justice from the California Court of Appeals and previous Executive Director of the National Center for State Courts), Judge Richard Byrne (retired Judge of the Los Angeles Superior Court and currently practicing private judging for out-of-court disputes) and Attorney Regan Ralph.

April 1993 - A two and one-half week program of trials, commentary and private meetings to examine more of the Egyptian processes. Programs were presented at the Bar Association, Cairo University, Alexandria University and at the U.S.I.S. office. It produced the recommendation for the scope of the seminar which followed in November 1993.

American Legal Delegates involved in this program were Chief Judge Henderson of the Northern California Federal Court, Federal Judge Wallace Tashima of the California Central District, Justice Edward Panelli (retired California Supreme Court Justice and leading private mediator in the state of California), Judge Nora Manella, and Attorneys Pamela Phillips, Mary Reilly, Alexander Brainerd, Howard Allen, Michael Lightfoot, William Hake, Stephen Mayo and Hiram Chodosh.

November 1993 - The seminars presented early neutral evaluation, case management, mediation, judicial settlement, arbitration and summary judgment. They were presented by (1) authoritative paper, (2) lectures, (3) demonstration, and (4) public and private commentary. During the course of the seminars, the Ministry of Justice organized a senior and a junior legal study group (the working group which is presently known as the Legal Study Group) responsible for the Egyptian participation in and review of the project. It was presented at Alexandria University first and then at the National Center for Judicial Studies in Cairo.

American Legal Delegates involved in this seminar series included Federal Judge Lourdes Baird, Los Angeles and Attorneys Edward Davis, Jack Quinn, Mary Jo Shartsis, Stephen Taylor, Robert Goodin, Doug Young, Stephen Mayo and Hiram Chodosh.

December 1993-March 1994 - The American Legal Delegates and the Egyptian Legal Study Group wrote independent reports during these months on the recommendations for legal reform.

April 1994/August 1994 - International Visitor's ("IV") programs provided a continued dialogue on the focus of the legal study. The discussions during those visits determined that it would focus on early neutral evaluation, case management, mediation and judicial settlement.

Egyptian legal opinion leaders participating in the IV programs included Justice Abdel Wahid, Justice Naguib. Justice Ibrahim Zagho, Dr. Essan Mohammed, Justice Mokbel Shaker, Justice Mare, Justice Rashed and Justice Amrallah. During the IV programs, virtually all members of the 52 person American Legal Delegation met with the Egyptian legal opinion leaders.

September/October 1994 - A four-week visit to San Francisco to further study the operation of the judicial streamlining functions and alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, and most importantly, to determine their adaptability into the Egyptian civil justice process. Each day, the Egyptian Legal Study Group viewed these functions and mechanisms in practice, had debriefing sessions every two days and a week-ending debriefing sessions with the entire American Legal Delegation. ISDLS drafted the final report according to the study by the Egyptian Legal Study Group. The report was finalized in January 1995.

The Egyptian Legal Study Group members participating in the September/October program visit were Judge Omar Hafeez, Judge Hani Hanna, Judge Nabel Sadek, Judge Yehia Khashaba and Judge Khaled Korraa.

January 1995 - Meeting at the Ministry of Justice on the future steps of the project.

July 1995 - Meetings with Egyptian Legal Study Group to determine steps necessary to prepare the Conference held in early January.

October 1995 - Meetings with Egyptian Legal Study Group to prepare case file and demonstrations for Conference.

January 1995 - The Conference, as described in the body of this Report.