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Religious Tribunals, Religious Freedom, and Concern for Vulnerable Women

Child and Family Law Quarterly, Forthcoming

U of Melbourne Legal Studies Research Paper No. 642

26 Pages Posted: 21 Nov 2012 Last revised: 17 Jun 2013

Farrah Ahmed

Melbourne Law School

Jane Calderwood Norton

University of Auckland - Faculty of Law; Auckland Law School

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: November 20, 2012

Abstract

For the most part current UK law does not interfere with the operation of religious tribunals. The role of religious tribunals in family matters in the United Kingdom is, however, fiercely debated. While many considerations are at play in these debates, two are often set up against each other. Religious freedom is often given, on the one hand, as a reason not to interfere with religious tribunals. On the other hand, however, concern for the vulnerable – especially women in religious groups – is thought to weigh in favour of greater interference. This article evaluates the current legal response to religious tribunals in the UK in the context of family matters against these two key values. It also clarifies and expands on how religious tribunals can both harm and enhance these values. It finds that contrary to the way the debate is often presented, religious tribunals can harm religious freedom while, at the same time, they can also enhance the welfare of vulnerable persons.

Keywords: religious tribunals, religious arbitration, Sharia councils, Beth Din, religious freedom

Suggested Citation

Ahmed, Farrah and Norton, Jane Calderwood, Religious Tribunals, Religious Freedom, and Concern for Vulnerable Women (November 20, 2012). Child and Family Law Quarterly, Forthcoming; U of Melbourne Legal Studies Research Paper No. 642. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2178808

Farrah Ahmed (Contact Author)

Melbourne Law School ( email )

University Square
185 Pelham Street, Carlton
Victoria, Victoria 3010
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.unimelb.edu.au/melbourne-law-school/community/our-staff/staff-profile/username/Farrah

Jane Calderwood Norton

Auckland Law School ( email )

Private Bag 92019, Auckland Mail Centre
Auckland, 1142
New Zealand

University of Auckland - Faculty of Law ( email )

Private Bag 92019
Auckland Mail Centre
Auckland, 1142
New Zealand

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