Sharia courts have no place in Britain, says Chief Justice

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London, July 6 : Britain's senior most judge, Lord Chief Justice Phillips of Worth Matravers, has said that Muslims in Britain can and should organize parts of their lives according to Sharia law, but rejected suggestions of such laws being used by courts in the United Kingdom.

Advocating that Muslims could resolve some disputes under Sharia law, Lord Phillips said all people in Britain had to abide by the British law and Sharia courts had no place in the country.

"So far as the law is concerned, those who live in this country are governed by English and Welsh law and subject to the jurisdiction of the English and Welsh courts," he said. "Those who come to live in this country and benefit from the rights enjoyed by all who live here also necessarily come under the same obligations the law imposes on all who live here."

Endorsing Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams controversial suggestion earlier this year that aspects of sharia law should be adopted in Britain, Lord Phillips said: "It is possible in this country for those who are entering into a contractual agreement to agree that the agreement shall be governed by law other than English law."

Muslims were free to practise their own faith and live their lives in accordance with those principles, but not to be in conflict with British laws, The Times quoted Lord Phillips, as saying.

The people's view of Sharia is often coloured by extremists who "invoke it, perversely, to justify terrorist atrocities such as suicide bombing", Lord Phillips said, adding that it was not sharia, but the sanctions imposed in some Muslim countries -- such as flogging, stoning, cutting off hands, or killing -- that would conflict with British laws.

"There can be no question of such sanctions being applied to or by any Muslim who lives within this jurisdiction," he said.

"Our system already goes a long way towards accommodating the Archbishop's suggestion," he said.

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