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The Egyptian Legal System: A Commercial Law Perspective

The Egyptian legal system, an intricate blend of various influences, stands as a testament to the nation’s rich history and its evolution through the ages. Predominantly inspired by the French civil law system, the legal framework also incorporates aspects of Roman, Napoleonic, and Ottoman law, crafting a unique legal landscape. With a special emphasis on commercial law, this article seeks to demystify the Egyptian legal system for those looking to navigate its complexities.

The Constitution: A Guiding Light for the Legal Framework

At the heart of the Egyptian legal system lies its Constitution, a foundational document outlining the nation’s core principles, rights, and directives. Ensuring equality before the law, protection from arbitrary detention, and the right to fair public trials, the Constitution serves as the cornerstone upon which the entire legal edifice stands.

Commercial Law: The Backbone of Economic Activities

The Commercial Code (Law No. 17 of 1999) serves as the primary codified legislation governing commercial activities in Egypt. This comprehensive legislation is instrumental in regulating various facets of commerce:

  • Commercial Contracts and Obligations:The code lays out specific regulations pertaining to the formation, execution, and dissolution of commercial contracts, ensuring that all parties’ rights are safeguarded.
  • Banking and Finance: It provides a robust framework for banking transactions, bills of exchange, and other related financial activities, ensuring the smooth flow of the economic machinery.
  • Trade and Business Establishments: The Commercial Code offers guidelines on the registration, operation, and regulation of business establishments, trade names, and related commercial entities.

Corporate Law: Structuring Business Entities

The Companies Law (Law No. 159 of 1981) meticulously outlines the processes and regulations associated with the formation, operation, and liquidation of corporate entities. This pivotal legislation categorizes and provides guidelines for various corporate structures, such as:

  • Joint Stock Companies: Detailed provisions related to the formation, capital requirements, and operational guidelines for these entities are laid out.
  • Limited Liability Companies:The law demarcates the responsibilities, rights, and operational modalities for such companies, ensuring a clear path for entrepreneurs.
  • Single Member Company: The law specifies the regulations for establishing these entities and their operational conditions to ensure clear guidance for the individual that owns them.

Investment Ambit: Fostering Economic Growth

Aiming to bolster Egypt’s appeal as an investment hub, the Investment Law (Law No. 72 of 2017) was instituted. This groundbreaking legislation encompasses:

  • Investment Incentives: Offering a slew of incentives and guarantees, this law endeavors to create a favorable investment climate.
  • Regulatory Authority: The establishment of the General Authority for Investment and Free Zones (GAFI) ensures a streamlined regulatory process for both domestic and foreign investments.
  • Special Economic Zones:Offshore trusts can offer a higher degree of privacy, shielding the details of the settlor and beneficiaries from public scrutiny.

In conclusion, the Egyptian legal system, particularly in the realm of commercial law, offers a structured and comprehensive framework for businesses and investors. By understanding and adeptly navigating this system, one can fully leverage the opportunities presented by Egypt’s vibrant economy.

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Written By

Joseph Iskander - Attorney-at-law

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