Civil Law System

The Egyptian legal system is primarily based on the French civil legal system, various other European codes and religious law. Religious law only governs personal status which is governed by the religious law of the individual concerned.

The fundamental and organic law of Egypt is its constitution. However, the Egyptian Civil Code No. 131 of 1948 is the most important source of law in Egypt. The Civil Code consists of a preamble and four chapters including, inter alia, provisions related to (i) laws and their applications; (ii) persons; and (iii) the classification of things and properties and the four books governs (i) obligations in general; (ii) specific contracts; (iii) the principal real rights; and (iv) privileged rights.

Absence of law

By virtue of Article 1 of the Civil Code, in case of absence of law, the judge shall take his decision on these issues according to custom. In the absence of custom, then the judge shall take his decision in accordance with the principles of Islamic Law. In the absence of such principles, the judge shall apply the principles of natural justice and rules of equity.

Legislative Power

The Parliament is the legislature in Egypt and, therefore, the Parliament has the main power to enact laws in Egypt. However, in certain cases the Parliament may authorize the president of Egypt, for a limited period, to enact decrees have the same power of laws and providing that such decrees must be approved by the Parliament.

The President, the Prime Minster and ministers may issue regulatory decrees and executive regulations of laws based on such laws. Laws and decrees shall be published in the Egyptian Official Gazette in order to be enforceable in Egypt. Laws and decrees must be enforceable in Egypt following one month starting from the publication date thereof, unless such laws and decrees stipulate otherwise.