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Amin Al-Astewani


The significant increase in the size of the Irish Muslim population over the last three decades renders the likelihood of Irish Shariah Councils emerging in the near future a particularly strong possibility. The emergence of such councils will raise a number of contentious socio-legal issues, the most prominent of which will arguably be how the Irish legal system should respond. This chapter seeks to examine the regulatory model currently used by the English legal system for governing UK Shariah councils in order to assess whether this could be adopted by the Irish legal system. The chapter begins by comparing the general legal framework with regards to the accommodation of religious tribunals in both the Irish and English legal systems. It then closely examines the particular framework adopted by the English legal system for the regulation of Shariah councils. The chapter concludes by evaluating the potential for this framework to be adopted within the Irish legal system, should Shariah councils emerge within its jurisdiction. The chapter thus arranged marks a novel and ground-breaking contribution to the literature of religious tribunals within Western legal systems.