CAIRO: The Lawyers’ Syndicate organized the third of a series of protests Thursday, on the steps of their headquarters against the increase in lawsuit fees.
Earlier this month, the People’s Assembly (PA) approved a draft law proposed by the government in January to increase the fees for filing lawsuits 10-fold.
During the protest, independent lawyers mocked PA speaker Fathi Sorour, Mamdouh Marei, minister of justice, and Ahmed Ezz, chairman of the National Democratic Party’s logistics committee and head of the PA’s planning and budget committee, which resulted in clashes with NDP-affiliated lawyers.
Lawyers placed banners reading “Public Enemies above puppets representing Sorour, Marei and Ezz.
Clashes broke out when NDP lawyers attempted to forcibly remove the puppets.
Protestors also removed a picture of President Hosni Mubarak from inside the syndicate because “he did not respond to our demands, lawyers said.
Lawyers vowed to continue protesting and threatened to go on hunger strike if their demands weren’t met.
Last week, lawyers nationwide suspended their criminal court cases in protest at the newly approved law and held protests in front of the Cabinet building where they chanted slogans against it as well as Marei and Ezz.
Hamdy Khalifa, chairman of the Lawyers’ Syndicate, sent a letter to Sorour and Amal Othman, chairman of the PA’s legislation committee, addressing the problem, he told the press.
“The right to file a lawsuit should not be subject to any regulations or legislation that may prevent citizens from resorting to the legal system, the letter read.
Fathi Ragab, deputy chairman of the Shoura Council, previously told Daily News Egypt that Article 23 waives the fees from those who cannot afford them, provided the court verifies their financial inability.
Based on the new law, fees will range from LE 10-50 an increase from the old law’s LE 1-5. The old law was issued in 1944 and had not undergone any amendments since.
The court’s share of the demanded financial compensation will remain as is at 1.5-5 percent. Many had protested a potential increase in this percentage, arguing it would deter people from demanding their legal rights.
The Ministry of Finance will be the main beneficiary of the increase, followed by the Ministry of Justice.