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Ally Tow
Ally Tow
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FAMILY PROCEEDINGS/MARRIAGE: Re S (Practice: Muslim Woman Giving Evidence)
Date:24 NOV 2006

(Family Division; Macur J; 24 November 2006)

Granting the Muslim woman a petition of nullity of marriage based on duress, including threats of physical violence, the court noted that it was a matter of extreme importance that witnesses in such sensitive cases should be permitted to present their case to the satisfaction of the court while maintaining their religious observance of dress. The woman wore the veil, as a practising Muslim, but had been willing to remove the veil in order that the judge could observe her demeanour and expression at the time that she gave oral evidence, provided that she could be screened from the presence of any male. The facility of screens and the ability, if at all possible, to list such cases before a female judge would obviate the objections of litigants or witnesses, subject to an assessment of the genuine nature of their unwillingness to appear before the court without the veil.