To ask Her Majesty's Government whether government officials or members of the judiciary have been involved in discussions with (a) working groups, (b) committees, or (c) expert advisory groups, to assess the applicability of Sharia law, or the rulings of Sharia councils or tribunals, in the laws of the United Kingdom. [HL3776]
I refer the noble Baroness to the Answer I gave her on 21 April 2009 (Official Report, col. WA 390). In July 2008 Oxford University's Family Law and Policy Unit held a seminar under Chatham House rules, at which leading Muslim academics and practitioners gave their views on Sharia law in family cases and Sharia councils. The Ministry encouraged the university to convene this conference and members of Ministry staff attended it. In October 2008, Dr Syed Aziz Pasha, Secretary General of the Union of Muslim Organisations of the UK and Ireland met my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor (Jack Straw). The judiciary is independent from the Government and therefore we are not able to comment on any discussions that the judiciary has held independently.