CAIRO: “We will seek all possible means to obstruct a proposed law on amending Lawyers’ Syndicate regulations,” Lawyer at Hisham Mubarak Law Center Ahmed Saif told Daily News Egypt Tuesday.
“There are several ways to deal with the situation such as withdrawing confidence from the Syndicate President or holding strikes,” he added.
Earlier this month, a draft law was presented before the People’s Assembly (PA) by MP Omar Haridy, Lawyers’ Syndicate board member, and other MPs from the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP).
The law proposed amendments to the bar association electoral regulations and legal practice, such as a ten-fold increase in the minimum number of lawyers required to withdraw confidence from the head of the syndicate to 5,000. Currently, only 500 lawyers are required for such move.
The proposed law also reduces the number of syndicate board members to 31, down from 46. In addition, it stipulates that the Syndicate President be a lawyer at the Court of Cassation, hence denying access to the top post to lawyers in other specializations.
It further imposes restrictions on issuing powers of attorney.
The law was primarily prepared by Syndicate President Hamdy Khalifa, believed to be loyal to the ruling National Democratic Party.
“According to syndicate regulations, this proposed law should have first been presented before the syndicate board for approval,” Saif argued.
He added that 20 board members signed a statement saying they had never discussed the draft law, which contradicts Khalifa’s claims.
Since then lawyers held several strikes inside the syndicate headquarters, protesting the proposal.
The lawyers’ strikes and protests partially paid off.
Independent Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper quoted PA Speaker Fathi Sorour Monday as saying during a parliamentary session that he would not start discussions of the draft law and that he has transferred the issue to the PA’s legislative committee.
He also noted that the constitution dictates that syndicates must be established on a democratic basis, adding that the PA could not look into a syndicate-related issue without asking the members’ opinion.
Meanwhile, the protesting lawyers collected 3,000 signatures to withdraw confidence from Khalifa.
The strike was over Monday evening.
“We ended the strike after Haridy and others signed a document vowing to withdraw the proposal they had submitted to the PA,” Saif said, adding that the draft law will be discussed by the syndicate’s general assembly.