British judge favours limited use of Islamic law

July 4th, 2008 - 8:28 pm ICT by IANS  

London, July 4 (DPA) Some principles of Islamic, or Sharia, law could be applied in parts to the legal system in Britain, the country’s most senior judge has said. The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Phillips said there was no reason Sharia law’s principles could not be used in mediation or conflict resolution.

His remarks at a meeting of Muslim representatives in east London late Thursday followed an outcry in February over the suggestion by the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams that the use of certain aspects of the law seemed “unavoidable”.

Sharia is a set of principles which govern the way a Muslim should live his or her life.

“There is no reason why Sharia principles, or any other religious code, should not be the basis for mediation or other forms of alternative dispute resolution,” said Phillips.

It should be recognized, however, that any sanctions for a failure to comply with the agreed terms of mediation would be drawn from the laws of England and Wales, he said.

But severe physical punishments such as flogging, stoning and the cutting of hands would not be acceptable, Phillips said, adding that there could be no question of such courts sitting in this country.

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