Friday 26 November 2010
Dr Prakash Shah, Queen Mary, University of London presented “Muslim Women and Marriage in Trans-jurisdictional Contexts” at the Centre for Research on Migration, Refugees and Belonging in the University of East London on 24 November 2010.How do immigration officials and judges manage when judging the validity of acts of marriage solemnisation, which take place on trans-jurisdictional terms? How do we explain their responses? These are some questions raised by this paper, which presents evidence gleaned from the writer’s own work as an ‘expert’ witness in immigration cases. Two case studies have been selected on the basis that the chief issue in contestation is the validity of a trans-jurisdictional marriage among South Asian Muslims, and therefore raise the issue of whether the marriages are valid according to Muslim law. The paper also raises some questions for future research, given that we know little as yet about how recognition of minority trans-jurisdictional marriages takes place across European legal systems and, in particular, the role of experts who get involved in the legal processes in which such marriages are contested.