The Egypt Justice Project: Explore and Educate
The Egypt Justice Project has two objectives. The first is explore: to engage in an ongoing project of serious study of the Egyptian judiciary and its jurisprudence, with all its rich history and currents and crosscurrents. The second is to educate: to help close the gap between popular perception and reality regarding the Egyptian judiciary, and to open up English language access to the Egyptian judiciary’s jurisprudence.
No one can adequately understand the Egyptian government or the dynamics of the interplay between Egypt’s multiple centers of power without understanding the Egyptian judiciary. And, it is obvious from reading many news media reports and much commentary about Egypt that a dangerous gap between perception and reality needs closing.
Even an accurate and insightful understanding of the Egyptian judiciary as an institution is inadequate without understanding the judiciary’s jurisprudence, which comes primarily from actually reading court judgments. Unfortunately for those lacking fluency in the Arabic of Egyptian legal discourse, Egyptian court orders are rarely translated into English or other languages.
Consequently, a huge void exists in understanding the Egyptian judiciary and legal system. That void needs exploring.
Support for this project is needed, and qualified collaborators are welcome.
David E. Risley
EgyptJustice.com was conceived by David E. Risley after working closely with the Egyptian judiciary for over 4 1/2 years while serving in the U.S. Embassy in Cairo as Department of Justice diplomatic attaché and legal advisor. He is now retired from federal government service, and is devoting his time to further research and writing about the Egyptian judiciary and Egyptian law.
David arrived in Egypt in September 2010, four months before the January 25, 2011, revolution, and departed in April 2015.
During that time, he had a front row seat to the unfolding of history with fairly unique access to information about and from the judiciary as Egypt transitioned through five governments: the Mubarak regime; an interim period of governance by the military's Supreme Council of Armed Forces; the elected government of President Mohamed Morsi; another transitional government under Interim President Adly Mansour; and now the elected government of President Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi.
Throughout that time, the judiciary played a central role in shaping unfolding events, which kept David in constant demand as colleagues in the U.S. and other embassies turned to him as a subject matter expert to explain the Egyptian legal system and judicial rulings, sort out truth from fiction in news reports, and most importantly help diplomats understand the role and power of the judiciary in Egypt's government.
Given the difficulty even diplomats with access to tremendous information resources have in obtaining reliable information about the Egyptian judiciary and judicial rulings, David recognized the need for a reliable online source of information about the Egyptian judiciary, and especially for English translations (and Arabic originals) of key higher court judgments.
Another important feature of this site is a section reserved for some of the best of Egypt's judges and lawyers to publish articles and other informational presentations to a world-wide audience. While some of Egypt's judges attract highly negative international attention by their rulings, the fact remains that among Egypt's judges are some of the finest legal minds to be found anywhere in the world. The best elements of the Egyptian judiciary deserve and the world will benefit from a platform for making their voices and views heard.
The full development of this site will be an ongoing process. It will steadily increase in practical value and impact, especially if sources of funding for further research and more English translations of laws and higher court judgment orders can be found.
Special thanks to Mark Fallows of Curious NYC for his invaluable work turning what started out as a mind map into the design of this website.