The Damascus Shari‘a Court: The Judge, Arbitration, and Lawyers in 2005

  • Jessica Carlisle
Part of the Gender and Politics book series (GAP)


Codification of the Law of Personal Status was divisive during Syria’s establishment as a nation state. Subsequent ‘state feminist’ legal reforms were forced through by the authoritarian Ba’ath regime. In 2005, Damascus hectic Shari‘a (family) Court One was routinely and efficiently applying Law No. 59/1953, allowing three types of divorce: repudiation (talāq), divorce for compensation (mukhāla’a), and judicial divorce (shiqāq or tafrīq). Only judicial divorce can be initiated by a wife without her husband’s consent, although it is used almost equally by women and men. It requires considerable input from the court through the aegis of professional arbiters, is granted on a wide range of gender-based grounds, and is hardly documented. It invariably results in divorce and financial compensation to even ‘transgressive’ wives.


Syrian Law of Personal Status Ba’athism Gender in Syria Islamic judicial divorce mukhāla’a shari‘a court 


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jessica Carlisle
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Science, Knowledge and Belief in SocietyNewman UniversityBirminghamUK

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