Martin Lau
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The contributions to volume 21 of the Yearbook have all been prepared during the Covid-19 pandemic, which had already been present when the previous volume went to print. Sadly, the good news of the pandemic receding after two long years is overshadowed, if not obliterated, by the human tragedies and losses caused by the chaotic withdrawal of international troops from Afghanistan in August 2021 and the Russian invasion of the Ukraine at the end of February 2022. For the regions covered by the Yearbook, rising costs of food, fuel and basic amenities combined with inflationary pressures on currencies are pushing more and more people into poverty, compounding the severe economic pressures and hardships that had been caused by the pandemic. Conversely, the oil and gas producing countries of the MENA region benefit economically from the rising cost of energy.

Focusing on the MENA region, positive developments can be noted with respect to some of the long-standing regional conflicts and tensions. At the beginning of April 2022, an UN-brokered two-month ceasefire took effect in Yemen, with the hope that this could pave the way to peace talks and ultimately an end to the six-year war. With respect to Iran, there is now hope that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action of 2015, better known as the Iran nuclear deal, could be revived, following its termination by President Trump on 8 May 2018. The Abraham Accords, signed by Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in September 2020, have been followed up by concrete actions, such as the historic visit of the Israeli President to the UAE in February 2022 and the visit of the Israeli Prime Minister to Bahrain in the same month. For June 2022, Emirates Airlines are planning to launch regular flights between Israel and the UAE. The conflict between Qatar on the one side and Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE on the other, which had erupted in 2017 amidst accusations that Qatar was supporting terrorism, has also been settled. On 5 January 2021, the four members of the Gulf Corporation Council [“GCC”] agreed to a resolution of the crisis, as reflected in the Closing Statement of the 41st summit of the GCC. These positive developments cannot hide the fact that many conflicts await resolution, most pressingly the status of Palestine.

Turning to the content of this year’s volume, and for reasons that will be explained at the end of this Preface, volume 21 of the Yearbook benefits from a surge in country surveys. Significantly, for Egypt and Turkey, several surveys have been included, prepared by subject specialists on specific areas of law. This division of labour reflects the increasing specialisation and sophistication of Middle Eastern legal system, with single surveys not always capable of addressing and capturing all the legal developments in any given year. Looking ahead, the Yearbook will be guided by our contributors in the way each jurisdiction is covered.

Legal developments in Egypt are covered in five surveys, ranging from public, family and criminal law to the theme of dispute resolution in relation to construction contracts and developments in arbitration law generally. Professor Mohamed S. Abdel Wahab, Professor of International Arbitration and Private International Law at Cairo University, founding Partner of Zulficar & Partners, and a well-known arbitrator, and Ms Noha Khaled, Senior Associate at Professor Wahab’s law firm, have contributed the first ever survey of Egyptian arbitration law to be published in the Yearbook, analysing this area of law in response to the novel global developments in international arbitration. Dr Sally El Sawah, Co-founder and Head of Arbitration & Litigation at Junction, Paris, and Founder and Principal of El Sawah Law, Cairo, explores and analyses the legal framework and recent developments in the resolution of disputes in BOT contracts in light of the Dipco judgment of the Egyptian Court of Cassation in 2020, concluding that the judgement will have a chilling effect on future investments in Egypt. Recent development in the public law of Egypt, including amendments to the Supreme Constitutional Court Act, are analysed by Dr Mohamed Abdou, a Pre-Trial Judicial Officer at the State Council. Dr Ahmed Elkahwagy, Maitre de Conférence at the Faculté de Droit of the University of Alexandria contributes a survey that analyses recent developments in Egyptian criminal law, focusing on the recent judicial dicta on the gender discrimination as it pertains to the law of adultery, as well on the criminalisation of crypto-currencies related activities and the launch of the National Strategy for Human Rights in September 2021. Last but not least, Dr Karim El Chazli, Legal Advisor at the Swiss Institute of Comparative Law, has contributed a detailed survey of recent developments in the family and inheritance laws of Egypt, indicating that family law statutes for both Muslims and Non-Muslims are currently being prepared. Hopefully, these will be the subject of Dr El Chazli’s next survey.

Turkey is covered by two survey and a detailed case-note. The survey of Mr Turgut Aycan Özcan, Partner and the Head of International Arbitration at Lexist, İstanbul, and Ms Eylül Ataol, Arbitration Associate at Lexit, İstanbul, offers a detailed account of recent developments in arbitration law. The controversial withdrawal of Turkey from the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence and Domestic Violence in March 2021 is analysed by Dr Deniz Tekin Apaydin, Assistant Professor at the Public International Law Department of Boğaziçi University in Istanbul. Muzaffer Eroğlu, Assistant Professor in Commercial Law at the Law School of Boğaziçi University, Istanbul, has contributed a detailed case-note that analyses and contextualises the on-going investigation of the Turkish Competition Board against Facebook. It is hoped that Professor Eroğlu will follow this analysis with a full survey of this important area of Turkish law for the next volume.

A gap of many years in the survey of Algeria has been filled extensively and thoughtfully by Professor Ali Bencheheb, Professeur emérite à l’Université de Bourgogne and Ancien Recteur d’académie, Dijon, France. The survey is in French and we are exploring the possibility of publishing an English translation in the future. Dr Kamal Jamal Alawamleh, Assistant Professor of Law at the Faculty of Law of the University of Petra has contributed an extensive survey on developments in Jordanian law, covering the fields of civil, family and succession law, administrative, public and constitutional law as well as criminal and banking law, concluding with property law. Professor Pasquale Borea, the Dean of the College of Law and Associate Professor of Public International Law at the Royal University for Women, Riffa, Kingdom of Bahrain, and Dr Raed Alnimer, Assistant Professor of Civil Law at the Royal University for Women, Riffa, have contributed an extensive survey of legal developments in the Kingdom of Bahrain covering contract, civil and criminal law as well as public international law, labour law, intellectual property law, arbitration law and family law. Dr Gordon Blanke, Founding Principal of Blanke Arbitration in Dubai, Paris and London, has again provided an extensive survey on legal developments in the UAE, covering all areas of law, including the recent developments in the laws concerning arbitration and mediation, with an extensive section analysing the amendments to the Abu Dhabi Global Market/ADGM Founding Law and the ADGM Arbitration Regulations. The Yearbook is welcoming back Professor Osayd Awawda, Assistant Professor at the College of Law and Political Science, Hebron University, Hebron, Palestine, who has again contributed a detailed survey on legal developments in Palestine, noting in his survey the on-going decline of the overall situation in Palestine since 2007, followed by succinct surveys of a number of areas of law. Finally, I note with gratitude the contribution of a survey on Oman by the law firm Trowers & Hamlins in Musact, Oman. Professor M.A. Ansaripour, Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Tehran, Teheran, Islamic Republic of Iran, has contributed a detailed survey on legal developments in Iran. I acknowledge with gratitude that Professor M.A. Ansaripour as well as Trowers & Hamlins are the longest standing contributors of to the survey sections, having contributed extensive and illuminating surveys for respectively the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Sultanate of Oman ever since the inaugural volume 1 of the Yearbook of Islamic and Middle Eastern Law. The editorial team as well as the readers of the Yearbook are looking forward to many more years of collaboration and surveys of these two jurisdictions.

Volume 21 includes three articles which examine important and topical legal developments in the MENA region. Professor Khalifah Thamer Alhamidah, Associate Professor at Public Law Department, Faculty of Law, Kuwait University, has contributed an analysis on the judicial review of legislation by the constitutional court of Kuwait. Professor Zaynab El Bernoussi, Assistant Professor of International Politics at Centre for Global Studies, Sciences Po, Rabat, Morocco, examines recent developments in the family law of Morocco, focusing on the admissibility of DNA evidence in relation to paternity recognition. Professor M.A. Ansaripour and Mr Ahmad Mohammadi are contributing an article of the legal framework for foreign investment in the Iranian banking sector.

The remaining parts of volume 21 include a book review of Olaf Köndgen’s A Bibliography of Islamic Criminal Law, published by Brill in 2022, and the judgment of the Lahore High Court in the case of Sadaf Aziz etc. vs. Federation of Pakistan etc WP No. 1357 of 2020. Decided by Justice Ayesha A. Malik of the Lahore High Court – now elevated to the Supreme Court as its first ever female judge – the decision declares virginity tests of female victims of sexual violence to be unlawful under Pakistani law.

In the publication of volume 21, the Yearbook has also witnessed important developments in its own right. As far as the editorial team is concerned, I express my gratitude to Mr Faris Nasrallah who has left the Yearbook after many years of unstinting support and service, having joined the editorial team as Assistant Editor for volume 17 and as Co-Editor for volumes 18, 19 and 20. Starting with this volume, I am very happy to welcome Dr Amel Makhlouf of SOAS, University of London, UK and Sorbonne Law School, France, as the Managing Editor for Country Surveys and Mr Tachfine Baida of Sciences Po Bordeaux, France, as the Managing Editor for Articles. I noted at the beginning of this Preface the growth of the number of country surveys and do thank Amel for having revitalised and strengthened this defining feature of the Yearbook. My thanks also go to Mr Tachfine Baida who has been vital in communicating with our esteemed authors on all aspects of the publishing process of academic articles, including the peer review process and editing. Further, I welcome Dr Zubair Abbasi of the School of Law of the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), Pakistan, as the Associate Editor.

The strengthening of the editorial team of the Yearbook is accompanied by another significant development, namely the appointment of an inaugural Board of Editors, composed of senior academics, leading legal practitioners and prominent activists in the jurisdictions of the Middle East, North Africa and the Muslim world and Islamic jurisprudence. I speak for the whole editorial team as well as for our colleagues at Brill in thanking all the members of the Board of Editors for having agreed to join and serve the Board for a period of three years each.

Volume 21 has also benefitted from significant up-dates in Brill’s production processes, with the Yearbook now being integrated into the publication circles as they apply to academic journals. In particular, manuscripts of academic articles can now be submitted via an on-line portal and, if accepted, can be published as advance publication on the website of the Yearbook throughout the year.

As in previous years, I owe a special debt of gratitude to the whole team at Brill. With the changes in the production processes, Mr Pieter de Velde will not any longer work on the Yearbook. I take this opportunity to extend my genuine and heartfelt thanks and appreciation to Mr Pieter de Velde for having managed, jointly with Ms Ingeborg van der Laan, most professionally and efficiently all aspects of the production of the Yearbook for many years. I convey many thanks to Ms Ingeborg van der Laan for her wonderful work for this and for future volumes of the Yearbook. Starting with this volume, I both welcome and thank Mr Peter Groen, who, as Brill’s Production Editor of Journals, is managing the production and publication of the Yearbook, both for the on-line advanced publication and for the hardcopy. Finally, I owe a special debt of gratitude to Ms Maria Sheldon, who, as Brill’s Publishing Director, International Law, has offered most professional support and wise counsel for these recent developments and improvements of the production of the Yearbook.

Martin Lau

April 2022

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