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This article investigates gender implications of judicial activism within the context of the 2011 revolution. Relying on analysis of a sample of judicial decisions in the field of divorce and child-rearing, I argue that individual judges used the family courts as a platform to articulate alternative legal discourses prior to the 2011 revolution. During the period between February 2011 and the military coup in July 2013 family legislation emerged as a controversial point. The period witnessed the mobilisation of small but vocal fathers’ rights groups that called for a revolution in Egyptian family law and formed strategic alliances with a handful of judges. The latter became members of a legislative committee formed under the presidency of Muhammad Mursi. I investigate the gender implications of their activism against a background where old and new actors and institutions competed over the right to interpret shari’a in an authoritative way

In: Religion and Gender

Abstract

The appointment of women to the judiciary has been and remains a hotly disputed issue in Egypt. This chapter examines strategies developed by civil society organizations to promote women judges i an authoritarian context. An analysis of the circumstances surrounding the appointment of female judges shows that they had wider implications relating to lack of judicial independence and a culture of patronage. Finally, it attempts to shed some light on whether female judges in Egypt offer a different voice than their male colleagues with an emphasis on application of Muslim personal status law. Among other things, I argue that more women on the bench did not increase the Family Courts’ propensity to rule in favor of women.

In: Women Judges in the Muslim World
A Comparative Study of Discourse and Practice
Women Judges in the Muslim World: A Comparative Study of Discourse and Practice fills a gap in academic scholarship by examining public debates and judicial practices surrounding the performance of women as judges in eight Muslim-majority countries (Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Syria, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Morocco). Gender, class, and ethnic biases are inscribed in laws, particularly in the domain of shariʿa-derived family law. Editors Nadia Sonneveld and Monika Lindbekk have carefully woven together the extensive fieldwork and expertise of each author. The result is a rich tapestry that brings out the various effects of women judges in the management of justice. In contrast to early scholarship, they convincingly prove that ‘the woman judge’ does not exist.

Contributors are: Monique C. Cardinal, Jessica Carlisle, Monika Lindbekk, Rubya Mehdi, Valentine M. Moghadam, Najibah Mohd Zin, Euis Nurlaelawati, Arskal Salim, Nadia Sonneveld, Ulrike Schultz and Maaike Voorhoeve.
In: Women Judges in the Muslim World
In: Women Judges in the Muslim World
In: Women Judges in the Muslim World

Abstract

In most Muslim-majority countries, the legislators who drafted family law codes sought to produce a codified version of one of the many Islamic fiqh schools. Such is the case, from West to East, for Morocco, Egypt, and Indonesia. There are situations, however, in which the law remains silent. In such cases, judges must turn to fiqh in order to find appropriate provisions. It is up to judges to interpret the law and to locate the relevant rule. In this process, judges use new interpretive techniques and modes of reasoning. After addressing institutional and legal transformations in Morocco, Egypt, and Indonesia, this article focuses on the domain of family law. We examine cases that illustrate how judges seek a solution in the body of fiqh when asked to authenticate a marriage. In conclusion, we put forward an argument about how judges who are required to refer to fiqh deal with this matter within the context of positive, codified, and standardized law. We argue that the methodology and epistemology adopted by contemporary judges, the legal material on which they draw, and the means by which they refer to this material have fundamentally altered the nature of legal cognition and of law itself.

In: Islamic Law and Society