Transnational families and British law The role of an expert witness

News 2011

​​Transnational families and British law: The role of an expert witness

March 10, 2011

​On Thursday, 10 March 2011, Dr Prakash Shah gave a public lecture at AKU-ISMC on the topic: “Transnational families and British law: The role of an expert witness.” Dr Shah’s talk examined how the British legal and immigration system deals with the question of transnational families and family unification.

In particular, the speaker looked at cases where British courts and immigration officials have questioned the validity of transnational relationships. He discussed the role of the expert witness in such cases. Drawing on his own experience as an expert called upon to offer testimony, Dr Shah shared instances where the issue at stake was the validity of a marriage, with the marriage said to be not lawful or not recognised.

Dr Shah showed that there was very little specific legislation in the relevant area of private international law and therefore most decisions depended on case law. In these circumstances, experts play an important role, although this role is not decisive and experts can rarely solve all the problems created by the complexities of the legal system.

Dr Prakash Shah is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Law, Queen Mary, University of London. His areas of research include ethnic minorities and diasporas in law, religion and law, immigration and nationality law and legal pluralism. He is editor of a book series with Ashgate on Cultural Diversity and Law and is managing editor of the Journal of Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Law.

Dr Shah has co-edited and edited numerous publications including: Legal Practice and Cultural Diversity (2009); Law and Ethnic Plurality: Socio-legal Perspectives (2007); Migration, Diasporas and Legal Systems in Europe (2006); The Challenge of Asylum to Legal Systems (2005); and Legal Pluralism in Conflict: Coping with Cultural Diversity in Law (2005).

This talk was organised by the Professional Programmes Unit as part of its public lecture series. The lecture was CPD accredited, offering professional credit for solicitors and barristers who chose to attend.

Razia Velji
Coordinator, Planning & Academic Development
Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations