The Art of the Administration of Justice


Fann al-qadāʼ (The art of the administration of justice) comprises two works. The first is a translation into Arabic of Essai sur l'art de juger (Essay on the art of the administration of justice), a 1912 work by Georges Ransson (born 1856), a French judge who is identified as having worked “in the Seine Court.” The translation is by Muhammad Rushdi, a former judge of the Egyptian court of appeals. The second work, Ādāb al-qāḍī fī al-sharīʻah al-Islāmīyah (Moral conventions of judges in Islamic sharia), is a collection of legal anecdotes and opinions on the administration of justice throughout Islamic history. The collection was compiled by Rushdi, and is largely taken from various Arabic legal sources, both classical and modern, including al-Mabsut (The elucidated) by Hanafi jurist al-Sarakhsi (died 1090 or 1091), and Duha al-Islam (The morning of Islam), by jurist and academic Ahmad Amin (1886–1954). Ransson’s essay, in 13 chapters, is mainly a guide for judges. It discusses such matters as the proper way to write a legal opinion and the items that a judge should include in a ruling. There are two introductions to the essay, a translator’s introduction by Rushdi, and a substantive introduction by French lawyer and statesman Raymond Poincaré (1860–1934). Rushdi, about whom not much is known, states in his introduction that he prefers literal translation to paraphrase. However, parts of his rendering of the text often do read like a paraphrase. Rushdi added commentary and marginal notes, which are divided into footnotes accompanying the translation and longer comments that are given as an addendum. The book was published in Cairo in 1943 by the well-known press operated by the al-Babi al-Halabi brothers. This copy is from the collections of the Law Library of the Library of Congress.

Last updated: June 16, 2016