A rejoinder: Sharia marriage in the UK is toxic

By LSS member Daniel Anderson *

A recent piece in The Telegraph advocates for the State recognition of Sharia as the only way of assisting vulnerable Muslim women. The piece has so many flaws in it that it is difficult to know exactly where to begin.

The piece is the combined efforts of journalist Myriam Francois-Cerrah and self-described ‘Islamic lawyer’ Aina Khan. We have met Ms Khan before.

But for those of you who don’t know who Myriam Francois-Cerrah is, well she is a white female convert to Islam who spends much of her time deriding those from different ethnic backgrounds who support secularism – and its concept of equal legal rights for all – as “native informants”.

Perhaps, then, it is not surprising that this piece in The Telegraph is a dog’s breakfast. Nevertheless, in this rejoinder I wish to take you through what Myriam Francois-Cerrah, with Aina Khan as her apparent legal guide, claim.

Continue reading

The full face veil in court: Lord Neuberger and the confusion between equality and exceptionalism

By LSS member Daniel Anderson *

Lord Neuberger, President of the Supreme Court, recently made a speech to the Criminal Justice Alliance on the topic of “Fairness in the courts”. Putting it mildly, this speech attracted widespread media attention: see herehere and here. And such attention resulted in the Supreme Court’s Press Office going into overdrive.

What caused the widespread media attention was that Lord Neuberger appeared to suggest that Muslim women should, in the interests of ‘fairness’, be allowed to wear a full face veil when giving evidence in court.

Continue reading

The insurmountable problems of parallel legal systems

By LSS member Daniel Anderson *

The attempts to establish parallel legal systems can in fact be seen as a project to transfer legal rights away from people and to groups instead.

Certain groups, usually based on a culture or religion, are deemed by proponents of parallel legal systems as worthy of having their own separate legal rights, and so parallel legal systems are consequently proposed to make this a reality.

But this attempt to transfer legal rights to groups causes problems that the advocates of parallel legal systems can only fail to address. Below are some of these problems.

Continue reading

The Muslim Arbitration Tribunal: an exercise in “Legalwash”

Legalwash

By LSS member Daniel Anderson *

I think we have all heard of the terms Whitewash and Greenwash.

Whitewash: A deliberate attempt to conceal unpleasant or incriminating facts about a person or organisation in order to protect their reputation.

Greenwash: Disinformation disseminated by an organisation so as to present an environmentally responsible public image.

(Source: Oxford Dictionary)

 I now wish to introduce to you a new term which I claim to have coined: Legalwash.

Continue reading

The Arbitration Act 1996: does it allow religious tribunals to make rulings that can be enforced by the civil courts?

By LSS member Daniel Anderson *

“We realised that under the Arbitration Act we can make rulings which can be enforced by county and high courts. The Act allows disputes to be resolved using alternatives like tribunals. This method is called alternative dispute resolution, which for Muslims is what the sharia courts are.”

 Sheikh Faiz-ul-Aqtab Siddiqi, founder of the Muslim Arbitration Tribunal Panels

Continue reading

Nurturing the next generation of lawyers: the “legal pluralists”

By LSS member Daniel Anderson *

Legal pluralism. What on earth does it mean?

Well, legal pluralism is the concept of having multiple legal systems within one jurisdiction. If you think that sounds very familiar you’ll be right! In effect, legal pluralism is nothing more than a sugar-coated academic term for having numerous parallel legal systems. I want you to remember the term “legal pluralism”; I fear we will be hearing and seeing much more of it in the future.

Continue reading

Enemies of secularism: who in the legal profession has been advocating parallel legal systems?

By LSS member Daniel Anderson *

It was fantastic that the Law Society’s new president, Andrew Caplen, showed courage and resolution to clear up the mess that his predecessors left him in with their disgraceful sharia practice note.

The Law Society’s withdrawal of its practice note sends a clear signal that the professional body representing all solicitors in England and Wales will no longer endorse sharia law and its discriminatory measures against women, adopted and “illegitimate” children, and non-Muslims.

Continue reading