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The Expert Witness in Islamic CourtsMedicine and Crafts in the Service of Law$
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Ron Shaham

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780226749334

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226749358.001.0001

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Continuity and Reform: The Egyptian Expert System in a Comparative Perspective

Continuity and Reform: The Egyptian Expert System in a Comparative Perspective

(p.101) Chapter Four Continuity and Reform: The Egyptian Expert System in a Comparative Perspective
The Expert Witness in Islamic Courts
University of Chicago Press

In the last quarter of the nineteenth century, Egypt began to reform its traditional legal system along the line of the civil law model, especially the French one. With this legal reform, Egypt adopted a hierarchical and centralized system of expert witnessing that would serve the national court system in any field requiring professional expertise. This article describes expert witnessing in Egypt relative to expert systems in Europe, Israel, and the United States. It first discusses modern legal writing on the probative meaning of expert testimony and on the legal status of the expert, starting with the Ottoman Majalla, the Tanzimāt's codification of Hanafi civil law. It then shows that the European (especially the French) model of expert witnessing has exerted the greatest influence on the Egyptian system, with fiqh discourse on expert testimony playing an insignificant role in this reform process.

Keywords:   Egypt, legal reform, civil law, expert testimony, legal writing, Majalla, Europe, Israel, legal status

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