The Right Hand of Qadis: Male Experts in Judicial Practice

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:
The Right Hand of Qadis: Male Experts in Judicial Practice

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This article focuses on two specific groups of male experts for whom the richness of information is larger than for other expert witnesses: experts in the human body (and also on animal anatomy), such as physicians, veterinarians, and slave dealers; and construction experts, such as builders and architects. Lawrence Rosen proposed a comparative paradigm of indirect political control of fact-finding in common-law systems versus direct control in civil-law ones. Drawing on this paradigm, this article discusses the qualifications required by the qadis of expert witnesses, how they were selected by the qadi, whether experts function as the advisers of the judge or as partisan witnesses, the procedural options developed by the court for using experts, and how judges address the problem of contradictory expert opinions. It shows that the use of expert testimony was common in premodern Islamic legal systems.

Keywords: male experts; expert witnesses; architects; physicians; Lawrence Rosen; fact-finding; qadis; expert testimony; Islamic legal systems

Chapter.  12477 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Law

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