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Theresa May Announces Sharia Law Review – July 2016

Posted on 15th August 2016 by Goodwins Family Law Solicitors

The Prime Minister, Theresa May, has announced that there will be a review of Sharia Law and the ways in which it is applied in England and Wales. The review is planned as part of the counter-extremism strategy, and it will be overseen by a panel appointed by the Home Office.

The Home Office has said there is evidence that some Sharia councils are working “in a discriminatory and unacceptable way, attempting to legitimise forced marriage and/or issuing divorces that are unfair to women”. The panel that is overseeing the review will be chaired by Professor Mona Siddiqui, Professor of Islamic and inter-religious studies at Edinburgh University.

Theresa May said: “Many British people of different faiths follow religious codes and practices, and benefit a great deal from the guidance they offer.

“A number of women have reportedly been victims of what appear to be discriminatory decisions taken by sharia councils, and that is a significant concern. There is only one rule of law in our country, which provides rights and security for every citizen.”

The review will investigate and examine the role of particular Islamic authorities, as well as looking at the role of Muslim arbitration tribunals and Sharia councils in certain matters. Additionally, divorce, custody and domestic violence cases will be looked at.


Sharia Law is used by many Muslims in the UK, with thousands of cases and disputes being settled before Sharia councils annually. These councils do not have any legal powers in the UK, but deal with civil proceedings.

The panel overseeing the review consists of:

  • Sir Mark Hedley, retired High Court judge
  • Imam Sayed Ali Abbas Razawi, philosophy and theology lecturer
  • Imam Qari Asim, chief Imam at Leeds Makkah mosque
  • Sam Motaz, family law barrister
  • Anne Marie Hutchinson QC, family law lawyer


Professor Siddiqui: “It’s a privilege to be asked to chair such an important piece of work. At a time when there is so much focus on Muslims in the UK, this will be a wide-ranging, timely and thorough review as to what actually happens in sharia councils.”


Goodwins Family Law Solicitors are experts in all fields of family and divorce law, including Islamic Divorce. If you would like to know more about what we do, or to arrange receipt of our services, please get in touch with us today and we will be more than happy to help.