Case Law Project

Women’s Rights in Courts

The objective of the Program is to develop lawyers’ authority in women’s rights in Islamic law as well as their familiarity in case law and judicial opinions in South Asian courts. The program will assist lawyers on how to cite, deconstruct and confidently present women’s Islamic rights during case preparation and litigation in courts, on a series of issues such as: maintenance, rape, zina, child custody, right of mahr, divorce and others.

Background

There is a wealth of information on women’s rights in Islamic law and traditions written and discussed by world-renowned scholars of Islamic law. Over the years, academic ideas and theories have flourished the re-understanding of women’s rights in law and society. However, often these opinions are elaborated in lengthy and dense scholarly essays or case law reports, and remain inaccessible to many lawyers and judges, in conflict and post-conflict jurisdictions.

These ideas are invaluable to the work of legal activists and lawyers, especially in areas where such information is essential yet extremely inaccessible. We hope that through the Program, we can develop activists’ and lawyers’ authority in citing and presenting Shariah arguments for gender equity within the Islamic legal framework and world-view, through re-producing and simplifying complex academic and legal reasoning through TOT workshops and creative legal training.

Click Here to Access Case Law Reviews

We build and share a collection of landmark Pakistani, Indian and Bangladeshi case law and judicial opinions on women’s legal issues. Through this collection, we aim to disseminate them as training materials and practical exercises for lawyers and activists on how High and Supreme Court Judges in Hanafi’ jurisdictions have reasoned Islamic and statutory law to come to gender-equitable outcomes in courts.

The objective is that of training lawyers how to construct legal arguments from statutory, customary, Islamic and international law as have been interpreted and applied in women’s rights cases by judges and lawyers in Hanafi’ jurisdictions of South Asian courts.

The cases are selected on the basis of their relevance for researchers, activists, lawyers and judges invested in:

1. Developing a comparative understanding and analysis of how law is interpreted and applied in courts.

2. Monitoring judicial trends and judicial activism in higher and lower courts.

3. Synthesizing how judges have reasoned both gender-equitable and gender-biased conclusions.

4. Developing persuasive legal and Islamic arguments for the education, training and advocacy programs of women’s rights activists and lawyers.

Content

1. Islamic legal theory: Sources of Islamic law; Quran, Sunnah and Fiqh; Hadith Methodology

2. Gender in Islamic Law (excerpts from scholarship written by Islamic authors, experts and lawyers on a series of topics that lawyers find most pertinent to address.)

3. Case Law, Judicial reasoning and Opinions in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh

• This includes landmark cases on: child custody, polygamy, talaq, post divorce maintenance, woman’s right of mahr, domestic violence, zina, rape, forced marriage and others.

• Excerpts from judicial decisions and scholarly commentary of each case.

• Citations of literature that comment on each case.

4. Delivery methods: how to cite Islamic sources and present them in a manner that is sensitive and resonant given the politicized and conservative environment.

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