Legal Professions in the Muslim World: Between Social Transformation, Judicial Control, and Feminisation

Mirjam Künkler, “Lawyers in the Muslim World: Between Social Transformation, Judicial Control, and Feminisation” in Rick Abel, Ole Hammerslev, Hillary Sommerlad, Ulrike Schultz (eds.) Lawyers in 21st-Century Societies: Comparisons and Theories. Oxford: Hart, 2022, pp. 73-97.

37 Pages Posted: 18 May 2022 Last revised: 28 May 2022

See all articles by Mirjam Künkler

Mirjam Künkler

Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study

Date Written: April 29, 2022

Abstract

Based on primary data provided by bar association officials and lawyers from around the Muslim world, the article examines the state of the legal profession and its professional organizations in recent years. It concludes that amidst all the variation regarding the situation of lawyers depending on their specific political and economic context, three trends have characterised the transformation of the profession since the 1970s: first, it has experienced a profound social transformation from one dominated by advocates of political liberalism, especially in the 1950s and 1960s, to one that is more diverse in both class background and worldviews. The second trend is the long-running prevalence of high levels of repression against lawyers who resist subjection to the state judiciary. But while lawyers suffer physical abuse and legalised repression in many countries of the Muslim world, the degree of professional repression depends very much on the extent to which their behaviour has political salience. Third is the accelerating trend of feminisation: by 2020, women made up between a quarter and a third of lawyers in most Muslim countries, only slightly below the 35–45 percent prevalent in Western Europe and North America. In a few Muslim countries, specifically Kazakhstan, Tunisia, Turkey and Malaysia, the percentages of female lawyers are markedly higher, far exceeding comparable rates in the USA, for example.

Suggested Citation

Künkler, Mirjam, Legal Professions in the Muslim World: Between Social Transformation, Judicial Control, and Feminisation (April 29, 2022). Mirjam Künkler, “Lawyers in the Muslim World: Between Social Transformation, Judicial Control, and Feminisation” in Rick Abel, Ole Hammerslev, Hillary Sommerlad, Ulrike Schultz (eds.) Lawyers in 21st-Century Societies: Comparisons and Theories. Oxford: Hart, 2022, pp. 73-97., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4096875 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4096875

Mirjam Künkler (Contact Author)

Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study ( email )

Korte Spinhuissteeg 3
Amsterdam, 1012 CG
Netherlands

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