The article below (From the Sunday Telegraph) sent to me by a friend. Knowing my legal views and ethics, I think he knew if be splurting my morning coffee all over the place!
The headline would appear to be an attempt to upset & illicit a certain type of reaction and to suggest there will be some form of hybrid Will which to be honest baffles me, as to its need & how such a step (as the article is written in order to provoke) is ever to be valid or legitimate in a Court Of Protection or via Probate in England & Wales without compromise to ensure that the “Sharia” will is compatible with our law relating to Wills & Probate.
It doesn’t follow our legal precedents under probate and the article implies that there is about to be a Sharia legal system which runs parallel to our own.
A devout Muslim can make a Will in which he/she can express their wishes & can allocate shares to named individuals in the form of bequests without the need for this attempt to promote a dual system which is the apparent aim!
Or is it the aim of the writer of the article to inflame tensions & to put about a fear in our society that our Laws, both Common and Legislative, given Royal assent by our Monarch(s) will be only for non Muslims with the Sharia Law for Muslims?
Such a scenario is seen as inevitable by some in our Society and this is likely make matters worse and bring about further division in society.
The fact remains, and is buried in the article, that these Sharia wills are to be drafted in such a way that they conform to our legal system, it’s norms, nuances, precedent, legality etc.
However, if some (yes it is a small minority) see a sign in a Solicitors window saying “Wills – Sharia & Secular get them here” (or words to that effect, not had time to let my morning coffee shake me fully from my slumber) how long do you think that window will remain in tact, in some areas I’d wager not very long because there is always some who want to cause trouble! No I don’t condone such actions, I don’t like racist or racism of any way, shape or form.
As an officer of the Supreme Court of England & Wales I can say with certainty that such wills for the devout Muslim will in its wording may possibly be different in certain places BUT the remainder will have its standard clauses, sound mind, I bequeath, I give the ornaments off the mantelpiece here to listed to (named individual) if they should predecease me then the items are to go to their eldest son/daughter even if that child be in utero at the time of my death.
The thing is the legal system cannot change overnight & a thousand years of precedent swept under the carpet! So before people take to the streets in outrage please send them a copy of my blog & I hope it will explain that Sharia Law has not overnight become legally binding and will not do so now or even in another 1000 yrs!
Yes yes I’m aware of the various mediation services offered via the Imam or Mosque Elders. Again these are BUTcourts in our sense of the word, they are a place where mediation takes place to prevent long court battles regarding divorce, visitation, marriage guidance etc. Think of the Citizens Advice & Mediation Services and use that as your starting point to understanding how any such a process may work.
To call them courts is disingenuous & misleading! In England & Wales (where I’m allowed to practice law) there is only one system that is actually legally binding in all it does and that is the law of England & Wales via Acts of Parliament that have been given Royal Assent and in force on the day of hearing!
So rest easy, put the pitch fork & flaming torches back in the cupboard and rest easy that Law & Justice are not about to be usurped!
Sunday Telegraph – 23 March 2014