CMEPF: English Law and Religious Marriage

The Cambridge Muslims in Europe Postgraduate Forum will meet on Tuesday 20th October to discuss research on English law and religious marriage. The main research presentation will be given by Vishal Vora, PhD student at the School of Law, SOAS. This event is part of a series featuring visiting postgraduate speakers discussing their research and its wider academic context, organised by Cambridge Muslims in Europe Postgraduate Forum and kindly sponsored by the Centre of Islamic Studies. Newcomers are welcome; we kindly request that you contact the organisers ( / in advance. Further details are below.

Introductory Article:
How Could English Courts Recognize Shariah?‘ (John R. Bowen).
Reference: University of St. Thomas Law Journal, 7(3), 2010, 411–35.

Presentation abstract:
The question of marriage validity is not novel; the answer could only be valid or void. What changed in 1997 was the formation of a new category called non-marriage. Certain religious marriages are considered so far from being what parliament intended, that they can only be deemed a non-event and give rise to no legal rights. In a short space of time there have been a number of cases involving the validity of Islamic marriages, entered into with good faith and via a ceremony, yet nearly all have been declared non-marriages. Is this judicial ‘wrong-turn’ being used too casually? Has the time come to recognise religious and belief marriages and if so, what may be the best mechanism?

Vishal’s PhD research focuses on second-generation British Muslims, their marriage practices, and their interaction and conflict with the law due to religious and ethnic identity. He project examines the rights of women unknowingly ‘cohabiting as married’. He is a member of the Ministry of Justice Working Group on Muslim Marriage.