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The European Court decision on legality of sharia divorce: what is it really about?

Date:4 JAN 2018
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Family lawyer

A European Court decision in mid-December 2017 in the context of an Islamic divorce pronounced in Syria was bound to create headlines. Too often these were potentially misleading when the issue of law was a fairly narrow one and moderately legal technical. Nevertheless that legal technical description covers a wider issue of the interrelationship of personal laws and national laws in the future of family laws across the world. This article looks at the context and possible future directions. 


On 20 December 2017 the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) handed down judgment on a request by the German court for a preliminary ruling. It is action number C372/16 and the case is Sahyouni v Mamisch. The Attorney General opinion is of 14 September 2017.

Irrespective of Brexit the UK is not directly affected by the judgment because we are not party to the EU legislation before the European Court namely Rome III. (The UK is indirectly affected in that if in a UK forum case with another EU member state a Rome III signatory which has divorce jurisdiction under...

Read the full article here.