NUS Law trains legal practitioners in Muslim Law

01 December 2018 | EducationGeneral News
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54 practitioners attended the inaugural Muslim Law Practice Course

The National University of Singapore Faculty of Law (NUS Law) has successfully conducted the inaugural Muslim Law Practice Course (MLPC) for legal practitioners in Singapore. Introduced in October this year, the course is the first of its kind to be conducted in Singapore and serves to fill a gap in systemic legal training in Muslim Law practice in Singapore. A total of 54 participants attended the inaugural run. 

Dr Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was the Guest-of-Honour for the closing ceremony for the MLPC that was held earlier today, and he presented certificates to those who had attended all the three modules offered under the course. 

The MLPC is a collaboration between NUS Law, the Syariah Court of Singapore, and the MUIS Academy, with the support of the Ministry of Culture, Community, and Youth. The course, which is accredited by the Singapore Institute of Legal Education and weaved into three modules, aims to achieve the following objectives: 

  • Acquaint participants with a holistic understanding of Islamic family law as practiced within the Singapore context
  • Contribute to the quality of practice before the Syariah Court by familiarising participants with key concepts, common terminologies, issues and recent developments related to dissolution of marriage and attendance matters according to Islamic family law
  • Clarify the Islamic ethical principles and higher purposes underlying the Islamic legal thinking
  • Expose participants to classical and contemporary themes and reading of Islamic law

At the closing ceremony of the course, Dr Maliki said, “The MLPC is designed to improve the training of lawyers practicing at the Syariah Court, and the quality of practice, by providing a grounding in the sources and development of the Syariah, as well as in jurisdictional and substantive issues.” 

He added, “While there are core tenets and foundational teachings in Islam that do not change, there is also a diversity of views that reflect the richness of the Islamic legal tradition. I hope that course participants can appreciate both the classical and contemporary understanding of Muslim family law, and the ethical principles and objectives underlying Islamic legal thinking.”

NUS Law course convenors, Associate Professor Arif Jamal and Associate Professor Jaclyn Neo, applauded the Syariah Court’s vision in initiating the course in response to feedback from Muslim law practitioners on the need for practitioners to be made more familiar with key concepts and issues relating to the practice of Muslim family law in Singapore. 

Assoc Prof Jamal said, “Syariah discourses have a long and rich history that has expressed itself in multiple interpretations. This diversity is a source of strength and offers great potentials in addressing contemporary issues. The MLPC course is designed to provide an overview of Islamic law, explore the practice within the Singapore context and take a deeper look at the dissolution of marriages in Islam.” 

“NUS Law is pleased to collaborate with the Syariah Court and MUIS Academy to run the MLPC, which is an expression of the Faculty’s commitment to enhance the understanding of Muslim law principles, as well as practice issues, in Singapore,” added Assoc Prof Neo.

Justice Debbie Ong, Presiding Judge of the Family Justice Courts, said, “The MLPC is a wonderful initiative in which family lawyers and judges from both Muslim and non-Muslim practices can, together, deepen their knowledge on many relevant legal, jurisprudential and substantive aspects of Muslim law and practice.” 

Aimed at practicing lawyers, particularly those who practice in the Syariah Court of Singapore, the course is taught by lecturers from NUS Law as well as experts from MUIS and practising lawyers from the Muslim Law Practice Committee of the Law Society of Singapore. YAA Dato’ Dr Hj Mohd Na’im Hj Mokhtar, Judge, Syariah Court of Appeal, Malaysia, was a guest lecturer for the course. Legal practitioners from various organisations such as Legal Aid Bureau, Ministry of Law, Family Justice Courts, Syariah Court and law firms participated in the course. 

Ms Cammie Loy, a course participant and senior legal associate from Apex Law LLP, said, “Being in a multi-racial society in Singapore, it is crucial to familiarise myself with Syariah law in order to competently advise clients from all walks of life. This course has been very informative, in providing us solicitors with a holistic background, allowing us to better understand the rationales behind the laws which differ from the civil court ones.” 

Mr Mohamed Fazal Bin Abd Hamid, a course participant and partner from I.R.B. Law LLP said, “This course provided me with an overview of the early developments of Islamic law and the formation of various schools of juristic thought, which is pertinent to comprehending contemporary themes in Islamic law. We are indeed privileged to have local and regional experts in Islamic law as our lecturers to share their knowledge and insights on various topics.”

Please refer to the Annex for more information on the module lecturers and course modules.