The London Beth Din has hit back at London Mayor Boris Johnson’s attack on “parallel systems of law” which he called “absolutely unacceptable”.
Speaking on LBC radio, the man who was this week named as a possible future Tory leader took “grave exception” to suggestions that religious law like Sharia could be introduced into the English legal system.
“The idea of a parallel system of law, a parallel judicature, people making the laws holding to a different system, is absolutely unacceptable, it’s alien to our traditions,” said Johnson. “I won’t have it.”
Asked if the Beth Din would “have to go” too, the mayor replied: “Yes, absolutely. Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.”
He said he accepted that Jewish couples could go to a Beth Din to seek sanction for their divorce, but added: “It cannot substitute for UK civil proceedings. They cannot replace the civil proceedings. If they want to have some ceremonial proceeding according to religious ritual or whatever, that is fine. But the actual implementation of the law has got to be done in British courts according to British law, agreed by Parliament.”
However David Frei, the Registrar of the London Beth Din registrar David Frei refuted the idea that the religious court was an alternative.
“Far from constituting a ‘substitute for UK civil proceedings’ the Beth Din concerns itself exclusively with matters pertaining to Jewish law and operates entirely within the framework of UK law,” he said.