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Review of Sharia Law

On the 1st February 2018 a government commissioned independent review of Sharia Law was published.   The Review has recommended that Muslim couples must under civil law register their marriage, before or at the same time as their Islamic ceremony takes place.

The Review concluded that linking Islamic to civil marriages ensures that a larger number of women will have the protection of family law and the right to a divorce under civil law.    This will result in reducing the need to attend before the Sharia Council and will simplify their decision making process.

In England & Wales where a religious marriage takes place but it is not accompanied by civil registration then it is treated as being a non-marriage.    In other words, the couple are not legally married.     This means that neither would have the right to financial remedies which are available under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973.

Sharia Councils deal with Islamic law.    A Review was commissioned by Theresa May in 2016 when she was Home Secretary.     This was to focus on the work of Sharia Councils in England & Wales.     

The Home Office will now need to consider the Review’s findings and recommendations.  

For advice upon family law, contact Judith C Fitzpatrick.   Telephone 01274 723858 or email her at

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