Lawyer: Sharia courts Bill will prevent women suffering

A Bill which will curb the power of Sharia courts deserves support because citizens have a “responsibility” to protect women from “unnecessary suffering”, a lawyer writing for The Independent website has said.

Charlotte Rachael Proudman said in the Independent’s Comment section, that Baroness Cox’s Arbitration and Mediation Services (Equality) Bill should be backed.

It had its second reading in the House of Lords last week.

The aim of the Bill is to ensure women are treated fairly by applying the nation’s anti-discrimination laws to quasi-legal systems such as Sharia courts.


Miss Proudman highlighted the plight of many Muslim women who are unaware they are married according to religious law, but not national law. This means they have no legal protections.

She also highlighted the case of one lady who said a Sharia court pressurised her to drop police charges against her husband after he stabbed her, saying it was a matter to be dealt with “in our courts.”

In Baroness Cox’s Bill, any person who falsely claims to have the power to make legally binding decisions in Britain will be guilty of a criminal offence.


Miss Proudman said: “We cannot allow Baroness Cox to go it alone when we, as citizens of Britain, have a responsibility to ensure that women living in this country are protected from unnecessary suffering, by our laws.”

She added that our support of the Bill will mean more women are prevented from “falling prey to the patriarchal rulings of such courts”.