Institute for the Study and Development of Legal Systems



June 4, 1996

The Arab Republic of Egypt Ministry of Justice Report on Recommended Solutions to Backlog and Delay in the Civil Courts, is the final product of a four-year comprehensive study of the practical operation of the Egyptian civil justice legal process. Based on this study, the Egyptian Ministry of Justice (the "Ministry") has recommended the modernization of its traditional civil law process through the development of judicial managerial functions and consensual dispute resolution mechanisms for civil and commercial disputes.

These recommendations represent a resolute commitment by Egypt to develop the legal conditions necessary for economic growth by developing modern civil and commercial dispute resolution functions and mechanisms both within and outside the traditional legal process. These new measures will allow Egypt to foster domestic and foreign trust in the civil justice legal process, which is necessary for the growth of commerce, foreign and domestic investment, and the achievement of sustainable economic development.

This Report follows a Civil Justice Conference held on January 3-4, 1996 (the "Conference"), attended by senior members of the Ministry and the parliamentary legal council, as well as judges, lawyers, and law professors. The Conference concluded with resolutions to prepare legislation in order to implement two integrated process modernization proposals: (1) Case Management, a judicial streamlining function designed to reduce delay by imposing a disciplined schedule on the preparation of civil and commercial cases for adjudication, and (2) Judicial Mediation, a consensual alternative dispute resolution mechanism designed to reduce backlog by encouraging consensual settlements of civil and commercial cases. The Conference also resolved to study further the development of a private mediation center, based on U.S. models.

The study employed a wide array of practical research methods, including the establishment of permanent study groups, authoritative papers, lectures, demonstrations, critical commentary and assessment (both private and public), personal and group interviews and meetings, comprehensive reports, simulated models, workshops, and a final conference, concluding with recommended reform proposals described in this Report. Prior to this Report, the Ministry and the Institute for the Study and Development of Legal Systems ("ISDLS") published seven comprehensive reports covering both critical assessments of current problems and recommended reforms designed to modernize the Egyptian legal process. With the publication of each of these reports, the Ministry and ISDLS developed a more accurate assessment of the problems and further tailored the reform proposals to meet the unique needs of Egypt.

This study was conducted jointly by the Ministry through its designated Egyptian Legal Study Group and ISDLS. It was administered entirely by the United States Information Service (the "U.S.I.S."). All participants donated innumerable hours of time both abroad and at home and have generously extended themselves professionally, intellectually and socially in order to achieve the ambitious goals of this undertaking. The close friendship and trust cultivated by the two national delegations is exemplary and largely responsible for the successful results of the study. Most significantly, the creativity and intensity of the study encouraged the Ministry to include private lawyers and law professors in the expansive dialogue in order to ensure that the reform proposals would be acceptable to all participants in the legal process.

Acknowledgment is given to the contributions of the U.S.I.S. and the members of the Egyptian Legal Study Group and the U.S. legal delegation, who all have contributed to the success of this project. Special recognition is given to Magda Barsoum, U.S.I.S.-FSN, who has coordinated every phase of this project from the U.S.I.S. office in Cairo, Counselor Omar Hafeez, Assistant Director of the National Judicial Center, who has served as Chairman of the Egyptian Legal Study Group, and Professor Hiram E. Chodosh, Director of Comparative Legal Studies at Case Western Reserve Law School, who has served as the legal reporter for the entire project.

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