Friday, 20 February 2015


Common Law

Common Law is law developed by judges through decisions of courts and similar tribunals, as opposed to statutes adopted through the legislative process or regulations issued by the executive branch.
Common law is originated in the Middle Ages in England and in countries that trace their legal heritage to England as former colonies of the British Empire, including Nigeria, Ghana, USA etc.
What is the origin of Common Law?

Exempli gratia, in the case of Bowman versus Secular Society Limited (1916-17), Lord Summers declared “Ours is, and has always been, a Christian State. The English family is built on Christian ideals and if the national religion is not Chriatian, there is none. English law may well be called Christian law”
While commenting in the same case, Lord Finlay, the then Lord Chancellor, declared, “There is abundant authority for saying that Christianity is part and parcel of the law of the land”. 

Sir Mathew Hale (1609 – 1676) was quoted in the Historia Placitorum Coronae (1736) as saying, “Christianity is part of the common law of England”.

Anyone familiar with Sir William Blackstone’s (1723 – 1780) Commentaries on the Laws of England will never entertain second thoughts on the origin of common law as the incisive work finds common law tied to the umbilical cord of Christianity.

It is also on record that Lloyd Kenyon (1732 – 1802) declared, “The Christian religion is part of the law of the land”. 

The celebrated Justice Karibi Whyte (retired justice of Supreme Court of Nigeria) is known to have declared that the Holy Bible contains the fundamental basis of common law.

Obviously, common law is British law and British law draws heavily from Christian culture and tradition.

Shari’ah Law

Shari’ah is Islamic moral codes and jurisprudence that originates from the Glorious Quran and Hadiths of the Prophet Muhammed (SAW). Sharia (Islamic law) deals with many topics addressed by secular law, including crime, politics, and economics, as well as personal matters such as sexual intercourse, hygiene, diet, prayer, everyday etiquette and fasting. Adherence to Islamic law has served as one of the distinguishing characteristics of the Muslim faith historically, and through the centuries Muslims have devoted much scholarly time and effort on its elaboration.

In 2008, Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury – the head Church of England, suggested that aspects of Shari’ah should be adopted in Britain. The archibishop’s remarks sparked a national debate and led to calls for his resignation.

However, the Lord Chief Justice of Britain, Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, strongly backed Rowan Williams over his call for the adoption of Shari’ah.

When he was Prime Minister, Gordon Brown loftily declared that he wanted London to become the Islamic finance capital of the world. His successor, David Cameron in 2013 announced that Britain will become the first non-Muslim nation to issue Shariah-compliant, Islamic bonds, proudly declaring at the World Economic Islamic Forum:

"I don't just want London to be a great capital of Islamic finance in the Western world, I want London to stand alongside Dubai as one of the great capitals of Islamic finance anywhere in the world."

The official adoption of Sharia in United Kingdom came up in April 2014 whereby it was revealed that the Law Society – the body which represents and advises solicitors in England and Wales – has drawn up guidance for its members on how to draw up wills in accordance with Islamic law.

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