Religious Tribunals, Religious Freedom, and Concern for Vulnerable Women

26 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2013

See all articles by Farrah Ahmed

Farrah Ahmed

University of Melbourne - Law School

Jane Calderwood Norton

University of Auckland - Faculty of Law

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: 2012

Abstract

For the most part current English law does not interfere with the operation of religious tribunals. The role of religious tribunals in family matters 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 England and Wales against these two key values in the context of family matters. It also clarifies 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 and enhance the welfare of vulnerable persons.

Keywords: child law, family law, religious tribunals, religious freedom, vulnerable women, welfare

Suggested Citation

Ahmed, Farrah and Norton, Jane Calderwood, Religious Tribunals, Religious Freedom, and Concern for Vulnerable Women (2012). Child and Family Law Quarterly, Vol. 24, No. 4, pp. 363-388, 2012, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2245549

Farrah Ahmed (Contact Author)

University of 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

University of Auckland - Faculty of Law ( email )

Private Bag 92019
Auckland Mail Centre
Auckland, 1142
New Zealand

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