find the latest legal job
Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Highly-respected, innovative and entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit · Competency based Board
View details
Chief Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Dynamic, high growth organisation · ASX listed market leader
View details
In-house Projects Lawyer | Renewables / Solar | 2-5 Years PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: All Australia
· Help design the future · NASDAQ Listed
View details
Insurance Lawyer (3-5 PAE)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Dynamic organisation ·
View details
Legal Counsel
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: North Sydney NSW 2060
· 18 month fixed term contract · 3-5 years PQE with TMT exposure
View details
What the west can learn from sharia law

What the west can learn from sharia law

The head of the largest law firm in the Middle-East has told an Australian audience that sharia law is compatible with western arbitration systems.Essam Al Tamimi, a Dubai-based senior partner…

The head of the largest law firm in the Middle-East has told an Australian audience that sharia law is compatible with western arbitration systems.

Essam Al Tamimi, a Dubai-based senior partner with Al Tamimi & Company, delivered an address in Ceremonial Court of the Federal Court in Sydney last night (8 November) on the topic of Islamic influences on international arbitration.

Invited to speak by Clayton Utz partner Doug Jones, who is also the president of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Al Tamimi acknowledged that sharia law is often regarded skeptically by western countries, due to its political connotations, but said that should not disqualify it from being a topic of discussion as it applies to many areas of civil and legal life.

"Islamic religion gets involved in the transactional side of life, and does not confine itself to the Mosque, to my bedroom, to my house and to the praying carpet. It gets outside that to tell me how I should behave in my training, how I should pay, and what is legal," he said. "Islamic law is relevant to commercial transactions and doing business."

Speaking to Lawyers Weekly before the lecture, Al Tamimi said that sharia law, which is the general law in Islam, and the system of arbitration and settling disputes developed in tandem with each other. He said that western countries such as Australia could benefit by understanding those links.

"The principle of arbitration, and the use of arbitration to settle disputes, existed during the early period of Islam," he said. "The word 'arbitration' was used in the Koran."

Al Tamimi addressed issues such as whether the appointment of female judges was compatible with sharia law. He said that Iraq has over 70 female judges and his own country, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has 10 female judges.

"There is no specific prohibition against a female judge," he said. "Arbitrators need to have the same qualifications as judges, and if the only judge available and qualified is a man, then there will be no female arbitrators."

Leaving controversy behind

Al Tamimi flew to Sydney on Saturday (5 November) after being the chair of the host committee at the International Bar Association (IBA) Conference which finished on 4 November.

He confirmed with Lawyers Weekly that political authorities in Dubai altered the topic headings of five of the 170 topics discussed, including replacing reference to the "death penalty" with "capital punishment" in one session. Al Tamimi said this decision was taken so as not to offend neighbouring countries affected by recent political demonstrations and regime changes.

"We had a request from UAE authorities to change the headings on certain topics," he said. "We don't want to be seen to be hosting a conference in Dubai during the current Arab Spring which someone might construe as sending missiles out of Dubai into those territories."

Al Tamimi said that none of the speakers at the conference, attended by around 5,500 lawyers, was changed and that he "would not accept" any alterations to the substance of those discussions.

Al Tamimi also said the 13 Israeli delegates were not subject to restrictions and were given "the red carpet treatment" when in Dubai.

Justin Whealing

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

What the west can learn from sharia law
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
LCA president Fiona McLeod SC
Aug 17 2017
Where social fault lines meet the justice gap in Aus
After just returning from a tour of the Northern Territory, LCA president Fiona McLeod SC speaks wit...
Marriage equality flag
Aug 17 2017
ALHR backs High Court challenge to marriage equality postal vote
Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) has voiced its support for a constitutional challenge to ...
Give advice
Aug 17 2017
A-G issues advice on judiciary’s public presence
Commonwealth Attorney-General George Brandis QC has offered his advice on the public presence of jud...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...