Personal Status Law
We welcome the decision of the attorney-general/ public prosecutor (7/5/2022) to reduce the documentary cycle of certain litigation proceedings in respect of housing for the custody. The reduction includes abolishing working with certain records, merging them with other records, and replacing hard copy records with electronic ones. Furthermore, receiving requests for disputes over the possession of matrimonial homes and custody directly without requiring prior recourse to the police and promptly investigating and completing such requests upon receipt.
Although this step does not take into account that the majorities of women who are affected by personal status laws do not have digital communication tools and do not know how to use them, it remains a good step toward facilitating litigation proceedings. We hope that this step will be part of a more comprehensive vision of ensuring procedural justice at all stages of the proceedings in personal status cases and not just disputes over the custody home. Even though the custody home is a critical aspect, many other vital aspects need to be facilitated for women in general, even if they are non-custodial. For instance: facilitation of procedures for obtaining expenses, Fault-based divorce, educational and financial jurisdiction, and protection from domestic violence, to the last of all those cases that take years to obtain effective judgments.
We hope that this step is not merely a goal towards the general transformation of digital services in state institutions, but a step followed by other steps in a comprehensive approach to facilitate the litigation procedures, thus access to justice.
More importantly, this step should be part of a deeper approach to the personal status file, which worries all citizens. An approach goes beyond the procedural aspect and clashes with the philosophy of an antiquated personal status law that treats women as incompetent legal capacity citizens.
It is more important that the logic of partial improvements here and there in the personal status system be transcended to radical change through a new personal status law that is based on logic of full and equal citizenship for both women and men. Moreover, it’s essential to achieve justice and equal rights during and after the end of a marital relationship, including shared responsibility for children.
New Woman Foundation
Centre for Egyptian Women Legal Assistance
The Egyptian Feminist Union
Women and Memory Forum
Cairo Foundation for Development & Law
Egyptian Without Borders Foundation
Edraak Foundation for Development & Equality
Tadwein Center for Social Gender Studies
The Forum for Women in Development
El Nadim Center For Management & Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence
Women & Society Association
The National Front for Egyptian Women
Speak up initiative