Legal society withdraws advisory on implementation of Islamic standards
The association that serves United Kingdom solicitors worldwide has reversed course on its accommodation of Islamic law, or Shariah, withdrawing an advisory that effectively implemented Muslim inheritance restrictions in the British legal system.
Andrew Caplen, the president, said: “Our practice note was intended to support members to better serve their clients as far as is allowed by the law of England and Wales. We reviewed the note in the light of criticism. We have withdrawn the note and we are sorry.”
WND reported earlier this year when the Law Society issued the advisory, which focused on drawing up “Shariah complaint” wills. The guidance allowed solicitors to write Islamic wills that denied women an equal share of inheritances and excluded non-Muslims, children born out of wedlock and even adopted children.
A search of the Law Society’s website Wednesday showed the documents still listed but no longer accessible.
At the Volokh Conspiracy blog, constitutional expert Eugene Volokh wrote that the language that caused a backlash was: “Certain principles of Shariah are different to English succession laws. For example, it is not possible to inherit under Sharia rules via a deceased relative. No distinction is made between children of different marriages, but illegitimate and adopted children are not Shariah heirs.”
The advisory also explained: “The male heirs in most cases receive double the amount inherited by a female heir of the same class. Non-Muslims may not inherit at all, and only Muslim marriages are recognized. Similarly, a divorced spouse is no longer a Shariah heir, as the entitlement depends on a valid Muslim marriage existing at the date of death.”