24 January 2013

ARTICLE: Sandberg et al on Britain’s Religious Tribunals: ‘Joint Governance’ in Practice

The Current IssueRussell Sandberg, Gillian Douglas, Norman Doe, Sophie Gilliat-Ray and Asma Khan, Britain’s Religious Tribunals: ‘Joint Governance’ in Practice has appeared in the Oxford Journal of Legal Studies

The abstract reads:

In recent years, there have been a number of moral panics in Western societies about the existence of religious courts and tribunals in general and Shariah law in particular. In England and Wales, these concerns came to the fore following the 2008 lecture by the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, on ‘Civil Law and Religious Law in England’. In that lecture, Williams drew upon the work of the Canadian scholar Ayelet Shachar endorsing her concept of ‘transformative accommodation’. In this article, we return to the work of Shachar in the light of our recent empirical study which examined the divorce jurisdiction of three religious tribunals in detail: a Jewish Beth Din; a matrimonial tribunal of the Roman Catholic Church; and a Muslim Shariah Council. We suggest that the focus upon Shachar’s concept of ‘transformative accommodation’ by Williams and subsequent commentators is unfortunate given that Shachar actually proposes ‘transformative accommodation’ as just one variant of what she refers to as ‘joint governance’ (albeit her preferred variant). We propose that the umbrella concept of ‘joint governance’ and its other variants can be developed in a way that could prove to be more useful than ‘transformative accommodation’. 

The journal is described as:

published on behalf of the Faculty of Law in the University of Oxford. It is designed to encourage interest in all matters relating to law, with an emphasis on matters of theory and on broad issues arising from the relationship of law to other disciplines. No topic of legal interest is excluded from consideration. In addition to traditional questions of legal interest, the following are all within the purview of the journal: comparative and international law, the law of the European Community, legal history and philosophy, and interdisciplinary material in areas of relevance.

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