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Editor: Martin Lau
The Yearbook of Islamic and Middle Eastern Law combines practice-relevant analysis of the latest legal trends in more than twenty Arab and Islamic jurisdictions alongside peer-reviewed articles on the laws of the MENA region, the Islamic world as well as Islamic jurisprudence, case notes and book reviews.

As the only global journal that comprehensively and regularly surveys the legal developments in the jurisdictions of the Muslim world, stretching from the Middle East to South and South East Asia, the Yearbook of Islamic and Middle Eastern Law has become an essential source and point of reference for academics, practitioners and students who work on Islamic and Middle Eastern law.

The Yearbook of Islamic and Middle Eastern Law is affiliated with the Centre for Islamic and Middle Eastern Law at SOAS (University of London), benefits from an international and diverse Board of Editors, and is edited by Martin Lau, Professor of Law, SOAS (University of London) and Barrister at Essex Court Chambers in London, and a team of associate and managing editors.
In: Arab Law Quarterly
In: Arab Law Quarterly
Author: Ghuna Bdiwi

Abstract

This article analyses several authoritarian practices in Syria since 1971 and demonstrates that, since the 2011 uprising, its authoritarian regime has successfully remained resilient instead of collapsing. The post-2011 Syrian Government under Al-Assad is no longer the Ba`thist government of old, albeit still autocratic but adept at adapting to hostile changing political environments. Al-Assad’s regime no longer relies on Ba’ath Party loyalty and appearances of legitimacy but both during and post-war has depended more on social re-engineering to sustain its political, economic power. The Syria example demonstrates that, when threatened, authoritarian regimes may thicken the layers of their autocratic rule to sustain their grip on power, even changing the composition of its citizenry to create a new population to rule. We demonstrate how the Syrian Government has used urban planning, housing, and property laws to re-engineer its demographics so that friendly foreign nationals will receive permanent citizenship and displace indigenous citizens.

In: Arab Law Quarterly
Author: Samy Ayoub

Abstract

This article explores two recent decisions issued by the Egyptian Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) to demonstrate how the Court resolves conflicts involving Islamic and Christian law: (1) a decision to maintain the constitutionality of the wife’s obedience (ṭāʿat al-zawǧa) articles in the Personal Status Law for Christians, and (2) a decision to extend Muslim mothers’ exclusive custodial claims over children until they reach the age of 15. The article argues that the SCC takes upon itself to decide — based on its own internal logic — the normative legal positions for Christians and Muslims. The SCC rulings reinforce a vision of the Egyptian State as the exclusive holder of legal authority (walī al-amr) with the power to determine the meaning of Islamic/Christian legal norms in a court of law. In these judgments, the Egyptian State is personified as an independent jurist (muǧtahid) that can legislate on behalf of Egyptian Muslims and Christians.

In: Arab Law Quarterly
Author: Salma Waheedi

Abstract

This article is an inquiry into the ability of the constitutional judiciary in Arab Gulf monarchial systems to act to protect women’s rights and the conditions that enable such autonomous exercise of judicial powers. Looking specifically at Kuwait and Bahrain, the empirical findings of this article demonstrate that one must look beyond constitutional or legal text in conducting this analysis. In these largely comparable political systems with very similar constitutions, subtle contextual political differences can lead to divergent outcomes when it comes to the practical exercise of constitutional judicial power. The experiences of Kuwait and Bahrain are insightful as they shed light on the different dynamics that may exist in similar monarchial systems and how even a limited divestment of political power, as in the case of Kuwait, can enable judicial institutions to carve a role for themselves in protecting citizens’ rights.

In: Arab Law Quarterly

Abstract

It is a general principle that the minor circuit — as with every civil court in the United Arab Emirates — does not settle cases within its jurisdiction until completion of pleadings by the parties, which usually takes several sessions. However, an exception to this principle has been created under Article 30/1 of the Federal Civil Procedures Law and Articles 22 and 54 of the Regulation of this law. These articles allow the minor circuit to rule upon some cases in a single session. The pleading, adjudication and judgement all take place in this one session, known as a one-day court, launched in the courts of the Emirate of Ras al-Khaimah in January 2017. This article aims to answer the questions raised about the justification for creating this court, the scope of its jurisdiction, the system for preparing cases before it, and the sufficiency of legal rules regulating challenges to its judgements.

In: Arab Law Quarterly
Author: Rosalie Rubio

Abstract

Scholars studying counterterrorism laws internationally, particularly across the Arab world, often note the ambiguity of these laws. Few, however, have taken stock of the causes and consequences of these ambiguities. This article explores the questions: What makes counterterrorism laws distinctly amenable to autocratic instrumentalization? What are the mechanisms that allow counterterrorism laws to be used as a means to bolster authoritarian stability? Furthermore, what are the consequences of this instrumentalization on social and political life? This article seeks to answer these questions by focusing on the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan’s Anti-terrorism Law of 2006 and its 2014 Amendments. The author argues that counterterrorism laws are a unique tool due to their distinctive emphasis on prevention and pre-criminality. As a result, counterterrorism laws are often prone to ambiguities, which permit their expansion and instrumentalization. This article discusses how counterterrorism laws’ inherent ambiguity shape how these laws are articulated, enforced and experienced.

In: Arab Law Quarterly

Abstract

This article seeks to study ribā from a novel point of view. Paying off interest without preconditions is recommended strongly by the Prophet (PBUH). If Islamic society follows his advice, this will become a prevalent custom (ʿurf) among Muslims, which the title of the stipulated interest does not include. This article refers to the views of Islamic schools on ʿurf and how they comply with the custom in question formed hypothetically. This article finds that, according to Islamic schools, such custom is considered valid, legitimate, and necessary to follow. The last part of the article provides an important discussion on how to put this theory into practice and implement the model designed for this purpose in the Islamic financial system. This article concludes that the challenge of prohibiting ribā will be solved if non-stipulated interest can be made obligatory in Islamic society based on the juristic views on ʿurf.

In: Arab Law Quarterly
Authors: May Barakat and Yasser Amouri

Abstract

This article focuses on the representation of the Palestinian people eight years after the adoption of United Nations General Assembly Resolution 67/19 in 2012, which accorded Palestine observer State status at the United Nations. It addresses the representative role of the Palestine Liberation Organization as an entity with international legal personality recognized by the international community as the sole representative of the Palestinian people. It discusses the developments related to this representative role in light of the ambiguous relationship between the Palestinian Liberation Organization and the State of Palestine, which is merely a continuation of the organization’s relationship with the Palestinian National Authority.

In: Arab Law Quarterly