CAIRO: A number of lawyers initiated a petition to demand that the head of the Cairo Cassation Court replace the current board of the Lawyers’ Syndicate with a temporary board of judges, and that new elections be held within 60 days.
The petition, adopted by the Lawyers Without Constraints movement, is based on the Supreme Constitutional Court’s (SCC) recent ruling that Laws 100 and 105 of 1993 — which govern syndicates’ board elections — are unconstitutional. As a result of the laws’ unconstitutional terms, the SCC called for new elections of boards at all professional syndicates.
“This isn’t a demand from the syndicate members,” Magdy Abdel Halim, head of the Lawyers Without Constraints movement, told Daily News Egypt. “All [that] we are asking for is [that the law be followed].”
According to Article 135 of Attorney Law 197 of 2008, if a syndicate board is found to be illegitimate, the head of the Cassation Court is to form an interim committee comprised of six judges to run the syndicate while board elections are held.
“We don’t target a certain number of signatures,” said Abdel Halim. “One syndicate member filing a request is enough, but we wanted to convey a message that we aren’t a minority in this demand as … the current board [claims].
“We are focusing on the leaders of various groups inside the [Lawyers’] Syndicate to prove the seriousness of our demand,” he added.
According to the laws deemed unconstitutional, syndicates’ elections could only be initiated by a South Cairo judge rather than by the internal bylaws of each syndicate.
Moreover, under the overturned law, election results were only legitimate if at least 50 percent of syndicate members cast their votes; if less than 50 percent of members’ votes were received, another election was required to be held after two weeks, during which the attendance of 30 percent of the syndicate’ membership was mandatory. If still less than 50 percent of members voted in the second election, a board of judges was appointed to run the syndicate board.
According to Abdel Halim, the syndicate board is reluctant to abandon their posts and to call for new elections, stating that the previous election was based upon the syndicate’s bylaws — not on the now unconstitutional Law 100 — and that a sufficient number of voters attended.
A delegation of those who signed the petition is set to meet the head of the Cassation Court on Sunday, the day in which the SCC’s latest ruling will be published in the official newspaper and be put into effect.