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Egypt: Law Students Protest Ban on Being Hired as Prosecutors

(Oct. 31, 2014) On October 20, 2014, a group of law students who had been denied positions in Egypt’s public prosecution service filed a petition before the country’s administrative court to repeal the decision that had been issued by the Supreme Council of the Judiciary to exclude them. (The Educational Background of Parents Threatens the Professional Future of 138 Law Students [in Arabic], EL-BALAD (Sept. 20, 2014).)

In June of 2013, 600 law students were approved for hiring as prosecutors. However, in September of the same year, the Supreme Council of the Judiciary issued a decision prohibiting 138 of those students from being hired. According to the Council, the reason for the decision was that the students’ parents do not have bachelor’s degrees. (Id.) The decision is considered to be the first in the history of the Egyptian judiciary on limiting the hiring of prosecutors based on the candidates’ social class. (Patrick Kingsley, Egypt in Classism Row over Prosecutors Sacked Because Parents Had No Degrees, THE GUARDIAN (Oct. 21, 2014).)

In response, the excluded law students filed a petition before the administrative court claiming that the decision issued by the Council is unconstitutional. The lawyers for the students announced that the decision is in violation of article 53 of the Egyptian Constitution, which states that “all citizens are equal before the law.” (The Educational Background of Parents Threatens the Professional Future of 138 Law Students, supra; Constitution of the Arab Republic of Egypt 2014 [unofficial English translation by the State Information Service].) The students’ lawyers also referred to another clause in the same constitutional provision, which provides that “[t]he state shall take necessary measures for eliminating all forms of discrimination … .” (Egyptian Constitution of 2014, art. 53 ¶ 3.)