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House-endorsed bills a ‘quantum leap’ in court procedures

Deputies okay three new judicial reform bills; critics urge deeper discussions

By Jassar Al Tahat - Jul 11,2017 - Last updated at Jul 11,2017

Deputies Saleh Armouti (left) and Ali Khalaileh chat on the sidelines of a House meeting on Tuesday (Photo by Osama Aqarbeh)

AMMAN — The Lower House on Tuesday approved the amended Civil Procedural Law, the amended Regular Courts Law and the judicial implementation bill during two legislative meetings held during the day.

Lawmakers presented their arguments and suggestions regarding the three pieces of legislation. 

Critics reiterated their position rejecting “hasty processing of vital laws”, which are part of a 16-bill package to reform the judicial system. 

MP Saleh Armouti (Amman, 3rd District) told The Jordan Times: “With all due respect, 99 per cent of the Legal Committee’s recommendations copied the government’s versions without any changes. To be honest, I believe that the voting was influenced by other factors other than the right ones.” 

“Fellow deputies are scheduled to discuss a new bill on Sunday and till now we have not received anything to review beforehand; there is something wrong with the system,” added Armouti.

The legislator, a veteran jurist and Bar Association leader, has presented 65 suggestions to the bills during the two meetings, but none was approved. 

During the session MP Ahmad Riqib (Amman, 4th District) presented a memorandum adopted by 83 lawmakers calling for a second extraordinary session to discuss “vital issues of concern to the public”.

According to the document, the signatories listed the controversial Israeli gas deal, the prices committee’s report, recent decisions by the Integrity and Anti-Corruption Commission on certain suspected corruption files, the decision of the transportation committee at Royal Jordanian and progress in an investigation into the December Karak terror incident that has been carried out by an ad hoc House panel.

Commenting on the memorandum, Armouti said: “According to Article 82 of the Constitution, The King may summon the National Assembly to meet in an extraordinary session at the request of an absolute majority of the deputies. Such request shall be contained in a petition specifying the matters which are desired to be discussed.” 

In remarks to The Jordan Times, head of the Lower House’s Legal Committee Mustafa Khasawneh said progress in the extraordinary session’s proceedings was satisfactory.  “We have gone half way to implement the recommendations of the Royal Committee for Developing the Judiciary and Enhancing the Rule of Law,” which suggested the changes in judiciary-related legislation before they were endorsed by the Cabinet.

The deputy explained that the House’s tendency to reject suggestions by lawmakers during the debate stimmed from the Chamber’s “total satisfaction with the work of my committee and approval of its recommendations”.  

However, he suggested that House rules be changed in a way that suggestions be presented to the concerned committee rather than under the Dome.

Commenting on the changes made be presented to three bills endorsed Tuesday, Khasawneh said the judicial implementation bill was amended to discard unnecessary procedures and come up with a modern law that takes into consideration the interests of both parties to the legal dispute.

Regarding the amended Regular Courts Law, he said the amendments made constitute a “quantum leap”, as specialised court chambers will be dedicated to cases of economic nature at the Court of First Instance and Court of Appeal.

The amended Civil Procedural Law is “one of the most important laws since it regulates the provisions governing civil procedures code”, said Khasawneh.

“The Legal Committee made adjustments to a number of provisions to get rid of unnecessary measures and set a timeline to the litigation process. In general, I believe we have tailored regulations that serve justice better and when this law sees the light, stakeholders and legal personnel will notice the difference”, Khasawneh concluded.  

 

Lower House Speaker Atef Tarawneh adjourned the session till Sunday evening.

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