The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has removed a reference to Sharia succession rules from its guide to drafting wills following criticism.
The SRA is the regulatory body which oversees solicitors in England and Wales. They produce guides for solicitors to follow when dealing with different aspects of the law.
In their latest guide to drafting and preparing wills, they included a reference to a note by the Law Society providing guidance on Sharia wills.
The Lawyers’ Secular Society (LSS) criticised the inclusion of the practice note in the SRA’s ethics guide, saying it was endorsing the use of Sharia law and threatened the notion of equality before the law.
In response to the criticism, the SRA sent a letter to the LSS confirming that the reference to the note had been removed from their ethics guide.
The letter from SRA’s chief executive Paul Philip said that despite taking down the reference to the note, its initial inclusion was not an endorsement.
Charlie Klendjian, secretary of the LSS, welcomed the SRA’s decision, and said the group was “pleased that good sense has prevailed”.
He also said that the written confirmation of the reference’s withdrawal “sends a strong message” that public authorities should not be seen to endorse Sharia law.
He added that the SRA’s decision puts extra pressure on the Law Society. He assured “all those who are concerned” about the practice note that the LSS would “continue to press vigorously” for its removal by the Law Society too.
Photo of the Quran by International Crisis Group via Flickr