Law versus the State: The Judicialization of Politics in Egypt

48 Pages Posted: 1 Feb 2010 Last revised: 25 Aug 2013

Date Written: 2003


This study seeks to explain the paradoxical expansion of constitutional power in Egypt over the past two decades, despite that country’s authoritarian political system. I find that the Egyptian regime established an independent constitutional court, capable of providing institutional guarantees on the security of property rights, in order to attract desperately needed private investment after the failure of its socialist-oriented development strategy.The court continued to expand its authority, fundamentally transforming the mode of interaction between state and society by supporting regime efforts to liberalize the economy while simultaneously providing new avenues for opposition activists and human rights groups to challenge the state. The Egyptian case challenges some of our basic assumptions about the conditions under which we are likely to see a judicialization of politics, and it invites scholars to explore the dynamics of judicial politics in other authoritarian political systems.

Keywords: Judicial Politics, Judicialization of Politics, Law, Supreme Constitutiional Court of Egypt, Egypt

Suggested Citation

Moustafa, Tamir, Law versus the State: The Judicialization of Politics in Egypt (2003). Law & Social Inquiry, Vol. 28, pp. 883-930, Available at SSRN:

Tamir Moustafa (Contact Author)

Simon Fraser University (SFU) ( email )

Simon Fraser University
7200-515 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, British Columbia V6B 5K3


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