First Woman Appointed as Chief of Court in Jordan

AMMAN — The first woman to hold the position of chief of court was appointed onMonday, May 28, by the High Judiciary Board. She described her new position asa big step forward for Arab women.

Article originally appeared in The Jordan Times on May 29, 2007. Reprinted withpermission.

By Linda Hindi

AMMAN — The first woman to hold the position of chief of court was appointed onMonday, May 28, by the High Judiciary Board. She described her new position asa big step forward for Arab women.

“This is a very important step for Arab women in the region, it is toughcompetition to be appointed as a decision-maker,” said Ihssan Barakat, whothree years ago also became the first woman judge to serve on the AppealsCourt.

In her new post of Chief of the Court of First Instance in west Amman, Barakat will be incharge of 22 judges and 81 employees.

She told The Jordan Times yesterday that she is up to “the tough task” ofleading the second highest court in Amman,adding that her number one priority will be to provide an efficient judicialsystem.

“The constitutional law gives every Jordanian citizen the right to obtainjustice, my goal is to make it as hassle-free, fast and fair as possible… goingto court should not be a punishment,” she said.

As a founding member and present vice chairman of the Arab Women Legal Network/a>

/>,Barakat’s appointment is in line with her determination to raise the capacityof women leaders in the region. Formed in 2005 and headquartered in Jordan, thenetwork is a nonprofit, nongovernmental regional entity that aims to facilitatethe advancement of Arab women working in the legal field.

It brings together judges, legal practitioners and  legal advisers ingovernment and nongovernmental organisations by providing a forum for theexchange of expertise, the provision of specialised training and professionaldevelopment programmes and the publication of materials aimed at strengtheningArab women in the law, according to its website.

“Our mission is to find women leaders… to prepare them to become decisionmakers in their countries,” said Barakat, who began her legal career in 1986after graduating in law from the University of Jordan before going on to workfor two years as a trainee lawyer.

In 1988, Barakat set up her own law firm, managing to attract high-profileclients such as the Central Bank of Jordan.

Her first appointment as a judge came in 2002 when she took up a position atthe Court of First Instance in Ammanbefore being transferred to the Appeals Court in 2004.She also served as director of theDirectorate of International Relations at the Ministry of Justice for a periodof nine months.

Barakat will replace Ahmad Jamaliya, who was promoted as head of all thecapital’s First Instance Courts.

The outgoing head, Judge Qasim Al Momani, will take up a position at the Appeals Court wherehe will serve another two years before being able to compete for a place at theCassation Court,the highest court in Jordan.

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