It has been announced by the Home Secretary, Teresa May, that a new report will be commissioned to look into the application of Sharia Law within Family Law, in England and Wales.
Religious marriage and divorce practices can vary significantly to civil ones. Sometimes those procedures can be run together; for example, having both a religious and legally-binding marriage, but other times, they can conflict significantly.
The two different systems can also have wildly differing results, for example, the financial support a wife is entitled to under Islamic Sharia Law is usually extremely limited, if anything at all, and this is one of the particular areas identified by the Home Secretary as being in need of detailed consideration. There are exceptions to this, however the majority of cases seem to indicate a nominal provision for the wife as opposed to one which would be considered ‘fair’ under English Law.
The report is likely to look at the need to allow individuals to run their family affairs by reference to their own customs and religious rules whilst at the same time trying to safeguard a minimal level of support and protection for all involved. It is expected to concentrate at this stage more on identifying potential problems and areas of disharmony in the respective systems, rather than trying to find solutions to those differences at this stage.
Religious and or cultural practices and expectations can be very important to individuals entering into a marriage, separating from one, or raising children, whether together or apart, and the courts are always mindful of the need to try and reach a solution which incorporate key principles of importance, so far as they are able to do so. In such cases, it is useful to have a solicitor with experience in dealing with the religious aspects of a family’s circumstances, as well as the applicable civil law.
Our team have extensive experience of dealing not only with cases involving cultural practices from all over the world, but also cases involving Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish and Christian religious principles and practise. We also have a dedicated Sharia Law expert, Kaleel Anwar, who specialises in Family Law cases involving Sharia Law.
Kaleel Anwar is a Family & Divorce Solicitor specialising in Islamic Sharia Law at Slater & Gordon Lawyers in London.
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