Promotion of Sharia law questioned by Justice Secretary

The Justice Secretary has said that the Law Society’s guidance and training on Sharia law should not “undermine” the British legal system.

In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, Chris Grayling emphasised that England and Wales are governed by English Law regardless of religion.

In March, the Law Society – the professional body that represents solicitors – issued formal guidance on Sharia wills, which discriminate against women.

Training

Next month it will give lawyers an introduction to Islamic rules as part of a training course.

The Society says the event, to be held on June 24, is intended as a “forerunner” to its future “seminar series on Islamic law”.

Grayling said: “Sharia law has no jurisdiction in England and Wales and the Government has no intention to change this position.

Religion

“Wills in England and Wales are governed by English law, regardless of your religion, and this permits people to leave their possessions to whomever they choose.”

Conservative MP Robert Buckland, a member of the House of Commons Justice Committee, also backed the Justice Secretary.

He said: “There is one law in this country, and it is the law of England, Wales and Scotland through our common law and statutes.

Law

“We don’t have room for other legal systems and everybody who lives in our country should abide by our law.

“The Law Society has a wider duty to uphold our legal system. They are validating a set of values that are not part of our law.

A spokesman for the Law Society claimed its guidance and training is “not the same as promoting the principles themselves”.

Loans

“Our guidance is intended to help our members better serve their clients’ lawful instructions on the distribution of assets, including those who may adopt Sharia principles as far as is allowed by the law of England and Wales.

Earlier this year, the Universities Minister, David Willetts, announced plans to introduce Sharia-compliant student loans in a bid to allow more Muslim students to attend university.

Willets said: “We are aware that some Muslims and young people of other faiths might be put off taking out a conventional student loan.

“To address this we have developed a potential model alternative finance product which would be Sharia-compliant and could be offered alongside traditional student loans.”

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