Authors: Letizia Riccardi
This study explores the debate concerning the implementation of Sharia Law in Britain and its consequences for the Muslim community. In recent years, Muslims in the UK have expressed particular needs: not only active participation in politics, economics and society at large, but also legal recognition as Muslim citizens, claiming for the development of a parallel legal system opposed to State Law. Operating under the Arbitration Act (1996), 85 Sharia Courts in Britain are today recognised as providing a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). Existing literature has outlined a broad historical and contextual background and has mainly focused on theoretical understandings, while little attention has been paid to the experience of the individual and the key issue of power with regards to gender relations. Since the majority of users of Sharia Councils are women, this study aims to investigate the issue of power with regards to gender relations and find out whether such unofficial mediation practices lead to equal treatment of men and women.
Keywords: Alternative Dispute Resolution, Gender, Legal Pluralism, Sharia Law