Daily Archives: Monday, May 26, 2014

Event: Mediation and Religious Arbitration: Thinking through issues of Gender Equality and Justice in Family Law disputes

Mediation and Religious Arbitration: Thinking through issues of Gender Equality and Justice in Family Law disputes

ONE DAY WORKSHOP, Tuesday 10th June 2014

SOAS, Brunei, Room B111.

With contributions from scholars, activists and legal practitioners from South Africa, Pakistan, India, US, Canada, Italy, Kurdistan, Egypt, and the UK


Mediation and religious arbitration are often presented as a dilemma for the liberal state, one that grapples with regulating ‘family life’ on the one hand and with preserving ‘family privacy’ on the other.  Yet it also occupies an important and contested arena in ‘law’ whereby competing legal discourses interact and overlap to produce a wide array of disputing mechanisms and outcomes. The overarching theme for this workshop is to draw upon critical feminist and Muslim feminist literature, empirical research and legal practice to better understand the ways in which such dispute resolution mechanisms are conceived and understood by women as primary users. The workshop aims to gain insights into the ways in which women’s agency, autonomy and personal decision-making capacities and capabilities are expressed via multiple family law dispute resolution mechanisms and as part of their social and legal lived realities. What do we understand by the terms mediation and religious arbitration as part of and across national boundaries? What are the overlaps and contestations between personal laws, state laws and community dispute resolution processes as epitomised by Shari’ah Councils and the Muslim Arbitration Tribunal in Britain and Canada? What kinds of enforcement mechanisms shape such family law dispute resolution processes in Pakistan, South Africa, Egypt, Italy, Kurdistan and India? To what extent do family law dispute resolution mechanisms protect against coercive social and cultural pressures for all women living as part of culturally and religiously diverse communities?

Entry is free. Spaces are limited.Please contact Samia Bano sb169@soas.ac.uk to reserve a place.