The government has responded to an online petition that read as follows:
“We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to stop Islamic Sharia Law being used in Great Britain.”The Response:
Details of Petition:
“The most senior judge in England and Wales has said that aspects of Islamic sharia law could be used in the UK, provided they don’t conflict with existing laws. I say that Islamic sharia law should not be used in the United Kingdom and the Prime Minister should do everything within his power to stop it being introduced.”
Shari’a law is the code of personal religious law governing the conduct of Muslims. It can extend into all aspects of people’s lives – personal, religious, family, civil and criminal.It would have been more significant to refer to matrimonial than contractual cases, but it's a good response.
Shari’a law is not part of the law of England and Wales. The Government does not intend to change this position in relation to the whole or part of the United Kingdom. However, provided an activity prescribed by Shari’a law does not contravene the law of England and Wales, there is nothing to prohibit it. Muslims can, for example, wear traditional dress and follow dietary rules. They are completely free to worship in the way that they want.
There can never be reliance on the fact that an act is permitted under Shari’a law as a justification for committing what is, under the law of England and Wales, a criminal act. Nor, for example, could someone expect a civil court, in reaching a decision on a contractual case under English or Scottish law, to apply the principles of Shari’a law.
Criminal matters, both small and serious, will always be heard in a Crown or Magistrate’s Court in England and Wales, and in Sheriff’s Courts in Scotland. The decisions made in an alternative court will not be recognised.