The Rule of Law in the Arab World: Courts in Egypt and the Gulf

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Nathan Brown's penetrating account of the development and operation of the courts in the Arab world is based on fieldwork in Egypt and the Gulf. The book addresses important questions about the nature of Egypt's judicial system and the reasons why such a system appeals to Arab rulers outside Egypt. From the theoretical perspective, it also contributes to the debates about liberal legality, political change and the relationship between law and society in the developing world. It will be widely read by scholars of the Middle East, students of law and colonial historians.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...this is an interesting and refreshing contribution to our understanding of postcolonial regimes, of value particularly to political scientists and historians,..." Elizabeth Thompson, Political Science Quarterly

"Brown provides one of the few careful analyses of how these important judicial institutions emerge in the Arab world and he breaks new ground by exploring how they actually affect the lives of ordinary citizens." Bruce Rutherford, MESA Bulletin

"...the book is an impressive work in compiling archival resources to study the development of the Egyptian judiciary over time from a wide variety of sources including newspapers and journals, as well as foreign ministry correspondence from the U.S., France, and Great Britain. His analysis of change in the role of the judiciary over time represents a significant contribution to the role of judicial systems in political and economic development. Thus, the work is of interest to a broad variety of scholars interested in politics and law, Middle Eastern politics, and factors influencing modernization, more generally." Robert W. Walker, The Law and Politics Book Review

"This is a valuable scholarly examination of the development of modern courts in Egypt from 1876 onward... This book is both timely and well-executed. It is a solid study that one can recommend readily to other scholars and to students of legal history." Ann Elizabeth Mayer, Middle East Journal

"Brown offers a clear and insightful account of the various pathways followed by Middle Eastern states toward hierarchical, centralized, and Western-looking legal systems...Admirably combining political analysis and knowledge of Islamic legal issues..." John R. Bowen, American Anthropologist

"Brown's work is an important contribution to the study of law and court systems in the Middle East." Nathan J. Brown, Digest of Middle East Studies

"There is no doubt...that new ground has been broken here that will challenge the current generation of researchers, particularly in attempting to analyze the potential foundations for a liberal order in historically quite different Middle Eastern societies." Byron Cannon, Journal of the American Oriental Society

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521590266
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/2005
  • Series: Cambridge Middle East Studies Series, #6
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface; Glossary; 1. Arab courts in comparative perspective; 2. The creation and operation of the modern Egyptian legal system, 1876–1937; 3. Egyptian courts, 1937–1971: centralization, authoritarianism and socialism; 4. Egyptian courts, 1971–1996: the re-emergence of liberal legality; 5. Legal reform in the Arab states of the Gulf; 6. The legal system and the rule of law in Kuwait and Qatar; 7. Popular uses of the courts; 8. Business and the courts; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.

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