22 March 2010

PLURI-LEGAL Discussion Group and Shah on 'Inconvenient marriages'

Dr Prakash Shah, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Law, Queen Mary, University of London has just brought Pluri-Legal to my attention.

Pluri-Legal is an e-mail discussion group on JISC mail and is devoted to issues regarding the legal accommodation of cultural, ethnic and religions minorities in Europe.

You can join by going to: www.jiscmail.ac.uk/PLURI-LEGAL

Note, too, that Dr Shah has recently posted an article, 'Inconvenient marriages, or what happens when ethnic minorities marry trans-jurisdictionally according to their self-chosen norms' on SSRN. The article will be published in the (2010) 6:2 Utrecht Law Review. The abstract reads:

This article presents evidence of a trend in British immigration law practice of denying recognition to marriages which take place trans-jurisdictionally across national and continental boundaries and across different state jurisdictions. The article partly draws on evidence gleaned from the writer’s own experience of being instructed as an expert witness to provide opinions of the validity of such marriages, and partly on evidence from reported cases at different levels of the judicial system. The evidence demonstrates that decision making in this area, whether by officials or judges, often takes place in arbitrary ways, arguably to fulfill wider aims of controlling the immigration of certain population groups whose presence in the UK and Europe is increasingly seen as undesirable. However, and quite apart from the immigration control concerns underlying such actions, the field throws up evidence of the kinds of legal insecurity faced by those who solemnize marriages under non-Western legal traditions and calls into question respect for those traditions when they come into contact with Western officialdom.

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