Continuity and Reform: The Egyptian Expert System in a Comparative Perspective

in The Expert Witness in Islamic Courts

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780226749334
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226749358 | DOI:
Continuity and Reform: The Egyptian Expert System in a Comparative Perspective

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In the last quarter of the nineteenth century, Egypt began to reform its traditional legal system along the line of the civil law model, especially the French one. With this legal reform, Egypt adopted a hierarchical and centralized system of expert witnessing that would serve the national court system in any field requiring professional expertise. This article describes expert witnessing in Egypt relative to expert systems in Europe, Israel, and the United States. It first discusses modern legal writing on the probative meaning of expert testimony and on the legal status of the expert, starting with the Ottoman Majalla, the Tanzimāt's codification of Hanafi civil law. It then shows that the European (especially the French) model of expert witnessing has exerted the greatest influence on the Egyptian system, with fiqh discourse on expert testimony playing an insignificant role in this reform process.

Keywords: Egypt; legal reform; civil law; expert testimony; legal writing; Majalla; Europe; Israel; legal status

Chapter.  8776 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Law

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