Position of lawyers
The Egyptian authorities continue to harass and persecute lawyers, including arbitrary arrests and prosecutions, for simply discharging their professional duties or for speaking out against human rights violations. There seems to be a campaign targeting hundreds of lawyers, including those defending political opponents of the regime and human rights activists, as well as lawyers exercising their rights to freedom of assembly and expression. The criminal justice system serves as an instrument of state repression, with unfair trials and courts convicting defendants on charges such as destabilising the country, attempting to overthrow the regime, terrorism, unauthorized protesting, spreading false information and belonging to banned groups. Further, travel bans are imposed and (personal) assets are frozen in an effort to silence and intimidate lawyers.
The Egyptian Bar Association was established in 1912 and comprises a membership somewhere between 450,000 and 600,000 lawyers. Membership of the bar association is compulsory for all practicing lawyers. Anyone who has a law degree and has spent two years working at a law office becomes eligible to practise law.
The Egyptian Bar Association has an independent mandate, but the political pressure is very high. The Bar Association is facing a number of additional challenges, including organisational weaknesses, the poor regulation of lawyers, an inadequate provision of licensing, the poor quality of legal education and training, and a weak representation of the legal profession.
Rules for lawyers
The Advocates Law 197/2008 (amending Law No 17/1983) regulates the Egyptian Bar Association and the practice of law in Egypt. The Egyptian Bar Association has not adopted a code of professional conduct for lawyers.
Lawyers can be subject to disciplinary measures but the provisions relevant to ethical conduct are limited and do not provide clear guidance.
This page was last updated 18 June 2019