in The Expert Witness in Islamic Courts

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780226749334
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226749358 | DOI:

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Evidence is central to any legal system because it is the primary means for maintaining justice and promoting honesty within society. Courts rely on rules of evidence to determine the facts behind a disputed matter. Judges substantiate facts by relying on expert testimony. Expert witnesses can be medical practitioners, builders, engineers, merchants, tailors, weavers, farmers, or midwives who provide the courts with professional evaluations, each in his field of expertise. This book examines expert witnessing in Islamic legal systems, both past and present. Drawing on various genres of legal literature such as fiqh works, collections of legal opinions, works of legal formularies, and court records and decisions, the book offers a study of legal history encompassing the premodern period, from the formative centuries (seventh to tenth CE) to the Ottoman administrative and legal reforms (Tanzimāt) undertaken during the second half of the nineteenth century, and the post-Tanzimāt period. It also demonstrates the explosive potential of any initiative to reform the traditional concepts of family law by analyzing the establishment of paternity in Muslim countries such as Egypt.

Keywords: evidence; Islamic legal systems; family law; Egypt; legal history; legal reforms; expert witnesses

Chapter.  10531 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Law

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