The application of the Muslim Arbitration Tribunal within the U.K. and its perception

Mahmood, Tahra (2012) The application of the Muslim Arbitration Tribunal within the U.K. and its perception. MTh(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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The purpose of this research was to determine public and societal perception of the Muslim Arbitration Tribunal and its application within the U.K. with a view to determine whether it should be used within Scotland. MAT procedures were also compared to the Arbitration Act to determine whether it was complying with the required regulations, although these could not be determined in a practical sense (due to the lack of assistance from MAT, in allowing us to view procedures in practise). Case studies of different types of previous shari‛ā councils and arbitration tribunals, including the Jewish Beth Din and the Muslim arbitration tribunal used previously in Canada were also researched to determine values, practices and perhaps pitfalls of said tribunals.
The quantitative research was carried out primarily by conducting three separate questionnaires, one was used for the general public, the second was used to establish the views of various related specialists in their fields, these included Muslim scholars, educators and lawyers, a Canadian Judicial specialist in Muslim Arbitration Tribunal in Canada, and various lawyers, individuals from the British Muslims for Secular Democracy and “one law for all” and lastly representatives from both the Beth Din and MAT. The final questionnaire was also carried out with the Muslim scholar, Shaykh Amer Jamil, who is part of the Hamilton Burns law firm which enables him to issue Islamic advice to potential civil legal claimants. This may also prove to be a step forward and maybe a step in the right direction for Muslims wishing to abide by their religious and societal responsibilities in their U.K. civil legal pursuits.

Public and media opinions were also used to establish the mainstream views on MAT. The general questionnaire revealed that public knowledge of MAT was generally very low amongst Muslims, although most felt that it should be an option for Muslims but were unsure as to whether or not they would use arbitration for any civil disputes they may find themselves in. The specialist questionnaire revealed there were differing opinions as to what should comprise an arbitration tribunal but most ultimately felt that arbitration was a good idea, most respondents felt that appeals should be permitted, and social workers should be used to protect vulnerable individuals. Finally most of the respondents felt that they were unsure as to whether or not MAT would work in Scotland.
The research shows that although MAT seems to comply with the Arbitration Act on paper, more research needs to be carried out to determine whether this is the case in practise. If MAT is indeed to succeed then it not only needs to increase its transparency to dismiss its critics but also needs to increase its profile within the community. One of the main issues which stand against MAT within the public and media sphere is potential human rights violations and fears about vulnerable people (e.g. women) being coerced into tribunal cases. Further research must be carried out to determine any potentially incompatible human rights rulings and whether these can be rectified in the future or indeed whether they are the case for all religious tribunals, e.g. Jewish arbitration tribunals etc. Suggestions by most respondents of the specialist questionnaire to use social workers and independent legal advisors to protect vulnerable people should perhaps be used by MAT to ensure that everyone’s individual rights are respected maintained and ultimately not violated. These steps may ensure that MAT is issued more credibility within the public and may increase its usability too.

Item Type: Thesis (MTh(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Additional Information: Due to copyright restrictions the full text of this thesis cannot be made available online. Access to the printed version is available.
Keywords: muslim, arbitration, tribunal, MAT,
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BP Islam. Bahaism. Theosophy, etc
K Law > K Law (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > Theology and Religious Studies
Supervisor's Name: Siddiqui, Prof. Mona
Date of Award: 2012
Depositing User: Ms Tahra Mahmood
Unique ID: glathesis:2012-3552
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 06 Nov 2012
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2012 14:08

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