Legal Pluralism

Should ethnic and religious minorities be allowed to use traditional or religious laws to settle civil disputes (not criminal)?

See for a discussion – but I would advise you to follow the links and listen to the associated programme first – I heard some of the speakers today – and some argue their case very well…

keep it going on the slavery debate also…



Gary Monro says:

Law is an aspect of society under which all are (supposed to be) treated equally. It is a unifier. We all are subject to the same law, we all are obliged by the same requirements, we all are punished for the same transgressions.If you want to create difference, emphasise the foreigness of a person’s culture and so on by letting them have their separate – albeit limited – law. Because then we can add that to the long list of differences between us.I am doubtful that many people subject to Sharia in England would have the free choice to opt for mainstream, un-Islamic English law. See how the Qu’ran views women and then ask yourself how well a lady will do in a male-dominated Sharia court.

David W... says:

If you read the BBC piece, you will note that the proposals only apply to civil, not criminal, matters: Does this make a difference?D.

Anonymous says:

I find this very interesting. While i fully appreciate the points made above with regards to this acting as another thing to ‘seperate’ society, I also find it a refreshing response to what many considering a failing legal system in this country.Of course – it can NEVER work for crininal matters, but civil matters? perhaps.There are many things that seem to make it unpractical, such as adhering to a civil law when it suits but backing out when it doesnt, but could allowing communities to govern within themselves open up new opportunities for an added respect of the law in this country?The idea of all of us ‘integrating’ into one, unified, ‘culture’ is clearly as likely as the christian church doing so (and surely unreasonable to expect everyone to want to assimilate into EVERY aspect of British life – whatever that means!), so perhaps this is a solution/aid.I shall certainly do more reading on the subject!

Anonymous says:

There is a part of me that wants to take the view that if people want to come into this country and live, they should therefore expect to be treated as our law dictates. However I feel that in the matters of civil cases this would be an aid, as mentioned above, to some of the problems that occur.As for the one above dave, I’m sorry but we are different and the more I read into it, the better it would be for us to accept these differences and stop trying to make everybody the same. Granted in criminal cases it is an entirely different matter but in simple cases i think it would be a safer easier option.

Gary Monro says:

All law is for all people equally. Law is so fundamental to our lives – it’s part of the fabric of what we are as it reflects our cultural beliefs about what is right and wrong – that having a group of people – already fairly distinctive in their own way (I’m referring to Muslims) – going their own way with even just a part of it is unthinkable. And it’s not even that I think Muslim law will be bad. I am certain it will be better than our law in some cases. But I am more concerned with national cohesion and I am afraid that law – civil or otherwise – is too important for it to become a matter of cultural leaning. As Muslims begin to detatch themselves from our legal way of life their social segregation – different language, different relgion, different schools – nears its completion. Very sad.

Anonymous says:

we’re a country (who until recently when all this nationalism rubbish started getting banded about), has a rich history of immigration and so what is the ‘british culture’? and why pick soley on Muslims? lest we forget it is us so called ‘better’ christian lot who has slaughtered millions over the years and yet we still sit here high and mighty claiming we’re the best in the world. and i don’t think any such thing as social segregation is going on. so what if muslims want to speak thier own language etc, it is a part of their cultural heritage and therefore have every right to practise in the way that they choose. there is also the argument that if certain people within the ‘british’ society actually let muslims get on with what they wanted to do and how they wanted to lead thier lives we would not be in the ‘social segregation’ trap that you seem to think that we are. it is a very few and extreme muslim peoples that is giving the rest of the people a bad name. from what i can ascertain and read the muslim faith is one that promotes peace. we’re the ones who have to give answers for the millions we have killed for the ‘better cause’.

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