Judicial institutions, the legitimacy of Islamic state law and democratic transition in Egypt

By Mohammad Fadel

This article contrasts the jurisprudence of Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) construing the meaning of “shari’a” with the practice of ordinary Egyptian courts construing Egypt’s civil code. The article argues that a shift from the lower courts’ positivist outlook on law to the common-law style of legal reasoning deployed by the SCC would increase the Islamic legitimacy of Egypt’s overall legal system, facilitate Egyptian courts’ reconciliation with the constitutional commitments to Islamic authenticity, modernization and human rights, and assist in Egypt’s democratic transition.