Legislative reform as a component in Egypt’s development project

History reminds Napoleon Bonaparte of France two major accomplishments, the first of which is his military conquest movement to establish a French empire, an achievement that has passed through time and may have been forgotten, and his second achievement that still remains is the legal renaissance that took place during his reign by launching a major process of codifying French legislation with modern approaches, which were soon imposed. Itself outside France, and it was influenced by many countries of the world, so that legal thought has become a manifestation of France’s soft power until today.

Although Egypt was the Arab, Mediterranean, and African country most affected by the French legal model, it transformed from a country “influenced” by this model to a state “influential” in those around it, after it accumulated this model, and I claim that it sometimes added to it through the ancient heritage of the Court of Cassation and the State Council , And the Supreme Constitutional Court, in addition to the writings of a golden generation of the founding pioneers in Egyptian legal jurisprudence.

From the end of the nineteenth century until several decades ago, Egypt was able to adopt a legal renaissance that made it an inspiring model and a soft power in its Arab region. Little by little, however, the soft and inspiring power of Egypt in the legal field retreated and was afflicted with something of slowness, slackness and failure to keep pace with the movement of the times for many and varied reasons. It is true that the Egyptian legal model still carries the glamor of a generation of founding pioneers in jurisprudence, the judiciary, and the making of legislation, but the glamor began to fade despite positive and fortunately illuminating exceptions here or there. Indeed, modernizing the justice facility is one thing, and legislative reform another. The justice facility is groaning due to the small number of judges, the modest efficiency of the assisting administrative apparatus, the increase in the population and the large number of cases, all of which require financial capabilities, allocations and timetables for implementation. As for legislative reform, it is almost cost-free, because it does not require more than one vision, project, minds and competencies, of which we have many.

And if Egypt today is experiencing a comprehensive development project, then legislative reform will become an indispensable side for the completion of this project. We need a comprehensive, deep, and modern legislative reform process with the extent of the comprehensive, depth and developments of the modern movement, because there is no change or new in the fields of economic, human, cultural, social, technological and political development unless it needs legislative tools that regulate it. It is hoped that the Supreme Committee for Legislative Reform will become the Supreme Committee for Legislative Reform, especially after the President’s decision by Law No. 209 of 2017 was issued to reorganize and reconfigure it to mark the achievement of legislative reform. The committee will thus become one of the centers of legislative industry in Egypt according to the competencies it is entrusted with, which expanded from what was stipulated in the previous law issued at the beginning of its establishment. And the Cabinet Council of Advisors until the matter finally deviates to the original legislative authority, which is the House of Representatives, to say its word and issue its law.

Hence, complementarity of roles and concerted efforts between these institutions, according to the nature of their respective roles, are sufficient to achieve the desired legislative reform. This integration exists in theory because the heads of the institutions concerned with the manufacture of legislation, who are high judicial figures, are in fact represented in the Supreme Committee for Legislative Reform, and there is no doubt that achieving integration in practice will represent a great impetus for the committee and the entire process of making legislation in Egypt.

The legislative reform discourse requires defining what is meant by it first, and awareness of its challenges and obstacles secondly, in order to make it easier in light of this to map its different paths third. First, what is meant by legislative reform is not merely a legislative amendment here or there, regardless of the extent of this amendment (and certainly there are legislative amendments required). Legislative amendments focus on “texts”, while legislative reform is related to “policies and goals.” Therefore, there is a big difference between the two concepts. It is noticeable that the Egyptian legislative movement has tended in recent decades to partial and emergency amendments that were often made as a quick reaction to a change or trend, and this is natural and required, but it is not a substitute for comprehensive and deep legislative reform.

Secondly, awareness is required of the challenges and obstacles facing the legislative reform process, which are concentrated in two negative phenomena, namely the inflation and stagnation of legislation. The phenomenon of legislative inflation has produced what is like a jungle of overlapping legislations that the specialist himself finds it difficult to deal with. In fact, this jungle of legislation seems more confusing because we lack a unified legislative database that is indexed according to modern methods and intelligent classification and indexing systems that can accommodate day to day each new addition or amendment and in an electronic manner that allows this. It is noticeable that the enlargement of legislation increased and accumulated, leading to situations of duplication, contradiction, and sometimes contradiction.

That is why we had, for example, until March 2007 the constitution of the “1971 constitution” that spoke of the socialist system and the Arab Socialist Union as a political organization representing the alliance of working people forces, at a time when there were laws that regulated privatization, the market economy, and capitalist openness “!” The scene reflected an incomprehensible situation without an explanation of a contradiction that lasted about twenty years.

As for the phenomenon of legislative stalemate, it was evident, for example, that we waited until 2018 to issue a law to combat information technology crimes, which was preceded by years in sister Arab countries. We still do not have a comprehensive law to extradite the accused and convicted at the international level. To this day, we have legislation that has become characterized by a great deal of stagnation, such as the Penal Code issued in 1937 that was overtaken by the movement of the times and modern criminal policies in criminalization and punishment, new criminal phenomena, and transnational organized crimes, and this law still includes penalties of a few pounds! What applies to criminal legislation applies to other legislation, most of which is static.

Third, the legislative reform paths are many and varied, exceeding the limits of this available space, and the Supreme Committee for Legislative Reform is qualified, determined and able to implement them. One of these tracks is the need to launch a process of review and purification of Egyptian legislation to transform it from a dense, complex and scattered jungle of laws to codified and homogeneous legislative groups according to the area they organize and the legal interest that protects them. The time has come to have a comprehensive, up-to-date and modern legislative database. Without going into the ideas and details of its field, the closed halls, which are the property of the committee as an institution and an entity, what is worth emphasizing here is that the legislative reform process is an integral part of Egypt’s development project and the appearance of Egypt, with its long-standing legal and legal institutions and distinguished scientific elites, must regain its leadership and inspiring influence in Its Arab surroundings. The success of this mission begins with the integration of roles as a methodology for employing minds and visions.
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