Recent Reforms in Personal Status Laws and Women's Empowerment. "Family Courts in Egypt".
This report presents the findings of an in-depth study of the litigation process in family courts in Egypt. The main aim of this twelve-month research, which started in January 1, 2007, was to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the new legal system in regard to meeting the legal needs of female disputants and strengthening their rights. A secondary goal of the study was to examine the effect of the new structures of family courts (e.g. mediation) on the implementation of khul law. The report is divided into three chapters. Chapter 1 briefly outlines the main initiatives for legal reforms in Egyptian family law in the last four decades. Then, the chapter examines the process of drafting, debating, and passing Law No. 10, which concerns the establishment of family courts. The aim of the chapter is to shed light on the sociopolitical and legal contexts in which legal reforms in Egyptian Personal Status Laws (hereafter PSL) are taking place and to show how different factors that are at play in this context impact the reform process.Chapter 2 reports the findings of the ethnographic research that was conducted on the litigation process in family courts in Egypt. Through an analysis of the findings of the study, the impact of the new legal system on women's access to justice and their legal empowerment is examined. Lastly, chapter 3 sums up the main findings and conclusions of the study. The chapter assesses the recent family law reforms by shedding light on the main strategies used, their resulting benefits, and the arising challenges in regard to strengthening the rights of women in the family sphere. In addition, lessons are drawn from two regional initiatives to legislate gender-sensitive family. Finally the chapter concludes with a number of recommendations for effective reform processes and just family laws.