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Legal Systems: Islam

Volume 504: debated on Monday 18 January 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will estimate the number of marriages and divorces registered by sharia courts in England and Wales in each year since 1997. (311454)

Sharia councils do not describe themselves as 'courts' as they do not have powers to enforce their decisions. Sharia councils are not part of the court system in England and Wales, and are not unified under one system. Marriages conducted under sharia law are not legally recognised in England and Wales unless they also comply with the provisions of the Marriage Act 1949. The English and Welsh courts do not legally recognise divorces granted by any faith groups. The Government do not maintain statistics on either marriages or divorces conducted by sharia councils.