Sean King

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Knoxville, Tennessee, United States

Friday, July 4, 2008

Can One Contract for Sharia?

Steve Doughty via LGF: The most senior judge in England yesterday gave his blessing to the use of sharia law to resolve disputes among Muslims.

Lord Chief Justice Lord Phillips said that Islamic legal principles could be employed to deal with family and marital arguments and to regulate finance.

He declared: ‘Those entering into a contractual agreement can agree that the agreement shall be governed by a law other than English law.’

In his speech at an East London mosque, Lord Phillips signalled approval of sharia principles as long as punishments - and divorce rulings - complied with the law of the land.

Charles Johnson over at LGF seems not to think much of this idea, but Lord Chief Justice is right that parties to a contract have long been permitted to choose the law that governs it. Likewise, parties to most any dispute are permitted to have it resolved by a mutually agreed upon arbitrator. The secular courts are still there to settle any disputes that arise in this context.

So long as this is all the Lord Chief Justice means, I don't see anything particularly controversial about this idea. But, if this is all the Lord Chief Justice means, then I'm not so sure that it is would be sufficient for proponents of Sharia.

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