Law Society criticised for Sharia will guidance

News|March 26th 2014

The Law Society has been criticised for its recent publication of guidance on the drafting of Sharia  wills.

Charlie Klendjian, Secretary of the Lawyer’s Secular Society (LSS), said

“This is a very worrying move by the Law Society, and the LSS strongly condemns them for issuing this practice note.”

The Law Society was “legitimising and normalising” the use of Sharia law in wills, he said.

“The practice note is dangerous to the priceless notion of equality before the law for people of all faiths and none. It potentially paves the way, ultimately, for a change in the law so that different laws of intestacy (the situation where someone dies without making a will) are applied to Muslims, or those who are deemed to be Muslims.”

He added:

“The practice note states that ‘there are specific differences between Sunni and Shia rules on succession. These differences are not covered in this practice note’. In time will the Law Society publish different guidance notes for different branches of Islam? The LSS calls on the Law Society to withdraw its shocking practice note without delay.”

But Law Society President Nicholas Fluck defended the move.

“We live in a diverse multi-faith, multi-cultural society. The Law Society responded to requests from its members for guidance on how to help clients asking for wills that distribute their assets in accordance with sharia practice. Our practice note focuses on how to do that, where it is allowed under English law.”

 Photo of the Shah Jahan Mosque in Woking by RHaworth via Wikipedia under a Creative Commons licence 

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  1. Andrew says:

    Nonsense from Mr Klendjian. The English law of testate succession allows – subject always to the Act of 1975 – testators to discriminate on the grounds of gender, race, religion, marital status, the race or religion of the child’s spouse, sexual orientation, transgendered status, you name it. And if that’s what the client wants it’s not for the solicitor to query that choice and it is for the solicitor to draw the will so as to give effect to that choice.

    Testate succession is an area to which the law of discrimination and equal rights does not extend and a good thing too!

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