BBC’s Panorama investigates Britain’s Sharia Courts

BBC’s Panorama investigates Britain’s Sharia Courts

The programme claims that domestic violence against women is being ignored by Britain’s Sharia Councils and further the programme claims to have evidence of this.

BBC One’s Panorama on 8th April is an undercover investigation of Britain’s Sharia Councils. Publicity for the programme states that in it women claim that they have suffered domestic violence ignored by the councils. Campaigners say that it is time to tackle the parallel legal system which can run counter to British law.

Link to BBC article: Are Sharia Councils Failing Vulnerable Women

Link to programme listing on BBC1 Panorama

Link to BBC article: Growing use of Sharia by UK Muslims

Link to BBC article: Some Imam’s ‘Biased Against Women’

The programme is broadcast at 8.30 pm on 8th April and will be available later on BBC iPlayer

Are Sharia Divorces (Talagh or Talaq) valid in English law

Are Sharia Divorces (Talagh or Talaq) valid in English law


If you marry abroad and obtain a Nikkah abroad in a country which practices Sharia Law your marriage will automatically be legally recognised in England & Wales. However questions can arise as to whether the same applies when you obtain a Sharia divorce, called a Talaq, from abroad. Unfortunately the answer is not straightforward.


A Talaq which is recognised in a Sharia Law practising country can be enforced and recognised in the England & Wales provided that some of the formal requirements set out in law are met. These requirements are:


  1. The husband or the wife must be a national of the country where the Nikkah was obtained under Sharia law; or
  2. The husband or the wife must be habitually resident in that country. This requires that the Sharia law country is their usual place of residence and that they ordinarily live there; or
  3. The husband or the wife must be domiciled in the Sharia law country. Domicile is different from habitual residence in law. Domicile is often gained at birth and therefore it is possible to remain domiciled in a jurisdiction even after having left that jurisdiction to live elsewhere. Domicile does not automatically change with immigration status.


When one of the parties to a Sharia marriage satisfies at least one of the above requirements, then the procedure to be followed in order for a Talaq to be recognised in England & Wales requires the following steps to be taken:

  1. The Husband is required to give notice in writing of  the pronouncement of the Talaq to the chairman of the Union Council of the ward in which the couple live; and
  2. The Husband must serve this notice on his Wife; and
  3. During the following 90 day period known as iddah there are provisions for attempts of reconciliation. During this period a Talaq can be automatically revoked if a reconciliation is successful.
  4. Where a reconciliation is not successful then following the iddah the talaq will take effect.

It is only in this manner that a Talaq obtained in a Sharia law practicing country will be recognised in English law.

The law will not recognise a Talaq where the husband has pronounced the Talaq in England & Wales alone. Therefore the process outlined above only applies to Talaq’s obtained outside England & Wales in a Sharia law practicing country.


For more information about Sharia law and divorce see our earlier post ‘divorce and talaq


Despite the above summary Sharia divorce is not a straightforward area of the law. It is fraught with complications and a careful balance must be reached between the expectations of the parties to the marriage and the requirements both of Sharia law and the laws of England and Wales. If you require any specific advice relating to Sharia law or Islamic divorces (Talaq), please telephone 020 8401 7352 to book an appointment to see a specialist divorce solicitor.

New Anti-stalking legislation comes into force

New Anti-stalking legislation comes into force

A new offence of stalking involving fear of violence carries a maximum 5 year sentence. The new offence came into formce on 25 November 2012 and encompasses sections 111 and 112 of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012. The new anti-stalking legislation covers only England and Wales. The sections insert new sections 2A and 4A into the Protection from Harassment Act 1997.

The new section 2A introduces a new offence of stalking. A person will be guilty of committing this new offence if that person pursues a course of conduct in breach of the prohibition on harassment in section 1(1) of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 and the course of conduct amounts to stalking. This new offence carries a maximum six month sentence.

The new section 4A introduces a new offence of stalking involving fear of violence or serious alarm or distress. A person would be guilty of the new offence where that person pursues a course of conduct amounting to stalking which causes another to fear, on at least two occasions, that violence will be used against them or it causes the victim serious alarm or distress that has a substantial adverse effect on their usual day-to-day activities and the person knows or ought to know that his course of conduct will have such an effect on the victim. This offence carries a maximum 5 year sentence.

The legislation is here.

Thinking About Divorce

Thinking about and Deciding On Divorce


Thinking about and deciding on divorce is a huge decision to be making. The mere thought of a divorce brings on thoughts of panic and doom and many people take these out on themselves. It is important though to understand that thinking you want a divorce does not make you a bad person, even though the feeling may be very negative. It is an unfortunate reality that many couples discover after often long periods of time spent living together that they are simply not compatible, for one reason or another. Sometime the reasons for incompatibility are starkly evident and yet often they are fudged and blurred.

You may find yourself pondering on the past or worrying about the future or worse yet, worrying about what everyone else will think about you when they hear you are divorcing. But in reality, none of these are factors that should be occupying much of your attention. After all, as we all know, life goes on, no matter what happens.

Experience has shown us that all sorts of relationships break down. We recently assisted a 79 year old couple to get their divorce after 43 years of marriage. You may wonder why they would bother after so long, but the fact remains that there is always a straw that breaks the camels back and unfortunately this married couple had breached that straw. The fact that your marriage has reached this stage is not something that you should be beating yourself up over. Legally, in England & Wales, getting a divorce is relatively straightforward, at least in law it is, and so long as you live in this country, you can take advantage of these laws, you don’t need to be British.

A Expert Solicitor Can Help To Make This Difficult Decision

The fact is that You are reading this article for a reason. Simply put,  you have been thinking about divorce for one reason or another. You know you want a divorce, but making that decision to make it real, the decision to actually book an appointment and see a solicitor is just daunting. You may wonder how the lawyers will judge you! The good news is that good solicitors and lawyers have learnt never to judge a client. We are not here to judge people, we simply carry out their work for them and advise them of what is best for them, depending on what they hope to achieve.

Thinking about divorce often results in a lot of ‘inward self-reflection’. You may not know this yet, but you tend to judge yourself far more harshly than anyone else does. You are an expert at driving yourself into a rut and making yourself feel worthless. These abilities were conditioned into you as a child. If you have children with your partner then you will probably make yourself feel even worse. You will convincing yourself of all sorts of things, for the sake of the children. But the real fact remains that children need a happy healthy family environment and if you and your spouse are constantly bickering, that is far from ideal for a healthy upbringing for any child. Added to this might be lots of over heated feelings; perhaps anger, frustration or worse yet, a sheer desire for retribution. But bear in mind that ‘revenge is a dish best served cold’. Divorce is rarely the time to extract revenge from your partner or raise the stakes to a huge court room battle. A good lawyer will always help you obtain your divorce with the minimum of hassle and tussle. What you do with your new life after your divorce will then be all up to you.

When deciding on choosing a solicitor to help you with your divorce matter, you will need someone you can communicate with comfortably. After all, you might be discussing some very sensitive ‘secrets’ and you want to be sure that these are received compassionately and where relevant, that they are integrated into your case effectively and sympathetically.

We have extensive experience of representing people with all sorts of backgrounds and matrimonial issues and we do this compassionately and sympathetically. If there is one thing all our client’s agree on, that is that we are very approachable, very helpful and unequivocally discreet. We will never push you into making any decision to divorce, one way or the other. What we will give you is honest frank advice about how the process works, what you can expect from us, the court and the law in general and what the outcomes will be. We will give you clear information on what it will cost you and how long it will take to get a divorce and then we leave you in peace to make your decision, whether that takes a few minutes or a few years.

To book an appointment to discuss your proposed divorce call 020 8401 7352 today.

Divorce and Religion

Divorce & Religion

We often read in the press about politicians or religious figures complaining that  that getting a divorce has been made too easy. But that is certainly not the view of divorcing couples. No matter how straightforward the law gets, the fact remains that getting divorced is a stressful experience for anyone. Let’s face it, nobody divorces for fun!

It is made all the more complicated when your divorce lawyer fails to acknowledge the importance of your religious faith. The fact that you find yourself in the unenviable position of having to get divorced does not in itself solve what can often be complex religious issues that surround the marriage. After all, most people still get married in a church or mosque or synagogue or indeed some other place of worship. Notwithstanding differences in the marriage, people still have their faith and often they find themselves at a cross-roads between honouring their religious convictions or following their heart. This makes the divorce process all the more painful for people in this situation. Unfortunately or fortunately, English law makes very little allowance for religious convictions in divorce.

Only last week I dealt with a devout Catholic man who despite knowing that his marriage was at an end, and that the only real remedy was a divorce, was nevertheless faced with this painful decision which went against the fabric of his religious faith. Luckily, I was able to find him a solution in the form of a Judicial Separation which meant that he could effectively legally separate from his wife whilst still maintaining a thread of marriage to appease his church. Of course a Judicial Separation means that the marriage is “sort of” ended but not legally and remarriage is therefore not possible.

In the Islam there are very serious issues to be faced. Often complications arise as to who can start or conclude the divorce proceedings. Even more often we are approached by Muslim women who know that they can obtain their legal divorce through the courts but it is all the nore important for them to obtain their Sharia divorce. These issues get even more complicated when all too often the parties to the marriage, although British passport holders at the time of the divorce, actually married in a Muslim state like Pakistan.

In the Jewish faith the Get  is similarly important! If not obtained, then remarriage within the faith is not possible. There are also   likely to be serious consequences for the children.

It is therefore vital when divorcing that you ensure that your solicitor can accommodate your religious views within the proceedings. Luckily we at Mansouri & Son Solicitors have years of experience in dealing with all sorts of complicated religious commitments and devotions and we are experts both at understanding your needs and relaying these to the courts, especially relation to the financial aspects of the divorce and matters affecting children.