Mixed Courts

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egyptian courts that tried commercial and civil cases from 1875 to 1949.

Although they had analogues in the Ottoman Empire and elsewhere, mixed courts achieved their classic form in Egypt between 1875 and 1949. As premier of Egypt, Nubar Pasha negotiated European treaties that approved the courts for Egypt's Khedive Ismaʿil; he promptly fell victim to their decisions in favor of his foreign creditors and was forced to sell his Suez Canal shares to Britain in 1875.

Western and Egyptian mixed court judges heard the commercial and civil cases involving Westerners, but criminal cases remained under consular courts. The mixed courts used French law codes, and their working language was French. After 1882, British administrators often saw these courts as an impediment to their own plans for reform and political control. From the 1920s on, Egyptian nationalists campaigned for the abolition of any institution that infringed on Egyptian sovereignty. The Anglo-Egyptian Treaty of 1936 paved the way for the Montreux Convention of 1936, which provided for ending the mixed courts and the capitulations by 1949. The example of the mixed courts' bar association, law codes, structure, and procedures had a significant influence on Egypt's other court systemsthe National (Ahliyya) and shariʿa (Islamic law) courts.

see also montreux convention (1936); shariʿa.


Brinton, Jasper Yeates. The Mixed Courts of Egypt, 2d edition. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1968.

Cannon, Byron. Politics of Law and the Courts in Nineteenth-Century Egypt. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1988.

donald malcolm reid