The Egyptian judicial system is composed of independent judicial bodies and agencies, each manages its own affairs as follows:
Supreme Constitutional Court
An independent, autonomous judicial body whose affairs are managed by its General Assembly. The Supreme Constitutional Court is solely competent to decide on the constitutionality of laws and regulations, interpret legislative texts, in addition to other jurisdictions, and enjoys complete independence.
They are comprised of the Court of Cassation, the courts of appeal, courts of first instance and the public prosecutor's office, which is part of the judiciary. The courts are competent to adjudicate all disputes that do not fall within the jurisdiction of other juridical bodies and are administered by an independent Supreme Council whose composition and jurisdictions are regulated by law.
An integral part of the judiciary and its members have the capacity of judicial officers. One of its key characteristics is independence and it undertakes the following:
- Investigating the crimes in accordance with the provisions stipulated for the investigating judge, including the presence of a lawyer for the accused before the investigation begins.
- Initiating criminal proceedings before the criminal court.
- Persecuting and representing the accusation in criminal proceedings.
- Appeal against the rulings made even if the appeal is in the interest of the accused.
- Managing the collection of inferences carried out by judicial officers, in which human rights considerations are observed including not to arrest, search, remand any person, or prevent them from moving, eavesdropping or recording a conversation except on an order from the public persecution’s office on the basis of sufficient evidence that they committed the crime.
- Issuing criminal orders for violations that are not considered to be dismissed and permissively misdemeanors in which the law does not require imprisonment or a fine that exceeds a minimum of more than 500 pounds.
- Supervising and searching prisons and places of detention, identifying human rights violations, investigating officials and taking the necessary measures to bring them to trial.
An independent judicial body comprising the Supreme Administrative Court, administrative courts and disciplinary courts, and is solely competent in adjudicating administrative disputes to which the state is a party, in addition to other jurisdictions stipulated in the Constitution.
State Lawsuit Authority
An independent judicial body acting on behalf of the state in lawsuits filed by or against the government, in addition to other jurisdictions stipulated in the Constitution.
Administrative Prosecution Authority
An independent judicial body investigating civil servants for administrative and financial violations in addition to other jurisdictions stipulated in the Constitution.
Criminal courts are divided into:
- The courts of misdemeanors and offences, which have two-degree litigation. The first degree is the Magistrate's Court for Misdemeanors and Offences, whose rulings are appealed before the second-degree court, the Appealing Misdemeanor Court.
- Criminal courts with a jurisdiction of consideration of criminal crimes.
- The Court of Cassation, criminal circuits, which is not an ordinary way of appealing against the sentences of the appealed misdemeanor court or the Criminal Court, in which the criminal circuits have a jurisdiction of verifying the validity of the sentences handed down by the misdemeanor courts or the criminal court based on the law, including to verify that the accused has the right to defend themselves.
Crimes that fall under the jurisdiction of the criminal judiciary are limited to the following:
- Offenses punishable by a fine not exceeding 100 pounds.
- Offenses punishable by imprisonment and a fine above 100 pounds or one of these penalties.
- Crimes punishable by the death penalty, life imprisonment, Rigorous imprisonment = or imprisonment.
Ways of appealing criminal sentences:
- The accused may challenge the ruling if handed down in absentia. This results in the case being re-heard before the same degree of litigation. If the accused does not show up in court, the challenge is considered as if it was never put forward, but if the accused shows up, the court will continue to consider the proceedings until the ruling is handed down.
- In both cases, the accused shall appeal the ruling; if the accused shows up in court, the case is heard, but if the accused does not, the ruling is handed down in absentia.
- The defendant has the right to appeal the ruling in absentia and the adjudication of which entails that the sentence be considered final and enforceable.
- In addition to the above, criminal litigation takes another stage, which is appeal before the court of cassation, through which the sentence can be appealed in specific cases. The common factor of these cases is that the appeal is related to the judgment itself and is limited to matters of law and how far they are available in the judgment or in the actions taken by the court during the hearing of the case.
The court's ruling in the appeal entails one of two cases:
- The appeal is rejected with the consequent closure of the way to the accused. However, if accepted, it would result in a re-consideration of the case before the trial court. Based on the breach that occurred, the referral of the case for reconsideration to a court may be the first-degree, or the second-degree court in accordance with the previous procedures.
- If the issue reaches the Court of Cassation again after the final adjudication of the case, the case will be subject to consideration. If it is deemed a breach, it must address and decide on the subject by a final unappealable ruling.
- Referring the accused to the criminal court entails that all guarantees must be provided, including assigning a lawyer to defend them. However, if the accused does not appear before the court, the ruling is handed down in absentia.
- The accused has the right to request a retrial in absentia. This will result in dropping the sentence and a retrial. Even if the accused does not show up in court, the ruling is deemed in force. If the accused shows up, the court must reconsider the proceedings and the sentence is issued from the Criminal Court. The accused may challenge the sentence through appeal and shall be subject to the above-mentioned procedures on misdemeanors.
In this regard, it is worth noting that with the issuance of the current Constitution of Egypt, article (96) of the Regulation of the Law requires the appeal of the sentences handed down in crimes. Consequently, this article requires that the crime be considered on two degrees, which entails that a legislative amendment to the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Law be made to regulate the provisions of this appeal, which is currently being considered by the Ministry of Justice.
The provisions being in force and effect entail that the subject matter of the crime shall be considered on two degrees, which requires procedures to be in force similar to those specified by appealing the sentences of misdemeanors and whether the sentence is in presentia or in absentia.