Family Law Hub

Sharia marriages should be registered, review recommends

Independent review of the application of sharia law published by Home Office

  • An independent review of the operation of Sharia Law has recommended that the law should be changed to ensure that Islamic marriages are also registered as civil marriages.

    The review, chaired by Professor Mona Siddiqui OBE and with input from experienced family lawyers, was commissioned by Teresa May when she was Home Secretary. It looked at whether and to what extent the application of sharia law by sharia councils may be incompatible with the law in England and Wales.

    The team concluded that civil marriages should be conducted before or at the same time as an Islamic marriage ceremony, bringing Islamic marriage in line with Christian and Jewish marriage in the eyes of the law. This would require amendments to the Marriage Act 1949 and the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 with the effect that the celebrant of any marriage, including an Islamic one, would face penalties should they fail to ensure the marriage is also civilly registered. 

    Aside from the recommendations, the review is a useful overview of the role of sharia councils in mediation as well as marriage.

    There is no indication of whether the recommendations will be implemented, though the Law Society Gazette reports that the Home Office will not seek to regulate Sharia councils as that could validate them as an alternative to UK law.

    You can read the full review on the Home Office website.

News, published: 02/02/2018

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Published: 02/02/2018

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