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Arbitration: Religion

Volume 485: debated on Monday 15 December 2008

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform which Islamic tribunals have authority to act under the Arbitration Act 1996. (241865)

There is no specific provision in the Arbitration Act 1996 for "Islamic Tribunals".

The Act provides a framework for the fair, speedy and cost effective resolution of disputes by an impartial tribunal. The principle behind the Act is that parties should be free to agree how their dispute is resolved. To be governed by the Act the disputing parties have to agree in writing to authorise a third party to finally resolve their dispute. The Act allows all parties to agree to have their dispute decided by a set of principles of their choice rather than by national law. If there is no agreement by all parties then national law will apply.

The Act sets out a number of safeguards including a duty to act fairly and reasonably between the parties, and giving each a reasonable opportunity of putting their case and dealing with that of their opponent. If there is a direct conflict with national law in the decision of a tribunal, national law prevails.

The Muslim Arbitration Tribunals (MAT) was established in 2007 in order to provide an alternative route to resolve civil issues in accordance with Shari'ah principles. The MAT operates according to the principles of the Arbitration Act 1996.