State Council to elect new head next month amid Judicial Authority Law dilemma

A General Assembly for the State Council will be held next month to elect a new council head to succeed the current president, Mohamed Masoud, whose tenure ends on June 30, senior judicial sources told al-Masry al-Youm.

This election comes while the House of Representatives is still trying to sort out the dilemma of the new Judicial Authority Law, which would have set a different criteria for appointing a new head of the State Council.

The sources said the Special Council, the top authority of the State Council, set May 20 for the General Assembly's meeting. It is expected that Judge Yehia Dakroury, deputy head of the council, will be nominated to take the position by order of seniority.

The sources added that these procedures will be done according to their natural course, unless hampered by any obstacles or other procedures.

The amendments to the Judicial Authority Law, regarding the appointment of the heads of judicial bodies before the House of Representatives, are still under discussion and have not been approved or finalized, the sources said. Every judicial body currently has the right to appoint its head in accordance with the law governing its affairs.

The Council has not received any calls for dialogue or discussion by the Parliament concerning the law, according to some MPs.

The Parliament approved amendments to the Judicial Authority Law on March 27, the same day it was put up for discussion; some MPs complained they hadn't had enough time to read it.

The State Council rejected it this month when it was sent to it by the Parliament for revision. The new draft law on the Judicial Authority includes amendments to some articles regulating the State Council, the State Lawsuits Authority (SLA) and the Administrative Prosecution Authority (SIS)

At the forefront of the remarks is that the bill contradicts Article 185 of the Constitution, which states: "each judicial body or organization shall be consulted with regards to the bills regulating its affairs."

The new draft law reportedly stipulates that the President would appoint the heads of the judiciary authorities, chosing from among the three vice-chairmen of each judicial body, nominated by the supreme council of that body from among the seven oldest deputies.

The new method is contrary to the old system, whereby the head of an authority would be appointed by who has the absolute seniority — a concept considered by Egypt's Judges Club as "one of the established principles and legal constants and one of the guarantees of the independence of the judiciary", to ensure that no official interferes in the selection of the president of the Court of Cassation.

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