Overview of Administrative Courts

In some countries, the term State Council refers only to the Supreme Administrative Court, but in Egypt the term is used to refer to the entire administrative court system.

Article 190 of the 2014 constitution states:

The State Council is an independent judicial body that is exclusively competent to adjudicate in administrative disputes, disciplinary cases and appeals, and disputes pertaining to its decisions. It also solely competent to issue opinions on the legal issues of bodies to be determined by law, review and draft bills and resolutions of a legislative character, and review draft contracts to which the state or any public entity is a party. Other competencies are to be determined by law.

The idea of an administrative court system is adopted from the French legal tradition. The administrative court system operates in parallel with the common court system. Because it has broad jurisdiction to rule on legal issues relating to the exercise of government power, it is sometimes considered to be the people’s court

The structure of the administrative court system includes four types of courts:

  • Supreme Administrative Court
  • Courts of Administrative Justice
  • Administrative courts
  • Disciplinary courts

Disciplinary courts are specialized courts that, as their name suggests, hear actions involving disciplinary actions taken against civil servants employed by the executive branch of government, local governments, public institutions, companies with minimum profits insured by the government, board members of labor unions, and a few other types of organizations.

Administrative courts are courts of limited jurisdiction that adjudicate disputes involving government personnel decisions (appointments to public office, promotions, failures to promote, transfers, retirement, salaries, pensions, etc.) and disputes involving administrative contracts in which the amount in dispute does not exceed 500 Egyptian pounds (about $65).

Courts of Administrative Justice are courts of general jurisdiction in administrative matters, somewhat analogous to Courts of Appeal in the common court system. Decisions are rendered by panels of three judges. Such courts act as courts of first instance in administrative disputes not falling with the specialized jurisdiction of administrative or disciplinary courts, and as appellate courts in appeals from those other courts.

The Supreme Administrative Court sits in Cairo, is presided over by a President of the Supreme Administrative Court, and hears cases in panels of five, roughly analogous to the Court of Cassation in the common court system.

The State Council Law, Law 47 for 1972, is available here.