Muslim Veil Allowed in UK Courts: Judges

April 25, 2007

Source: The Age

Muslim women should be allowed to wear the veil in British courts, senior judges said.

Muslim women should be permitted to wear the full facial covering, known as the niqab, as long as it does not interfere with the administration of justice, the Judicial Studies Board's Equal Treatment Advisory Committee said.

Such decisions, however, should be made on a case-by-case basis, the committee said.

The guidance was issued after an immigration judge adjourned a case in Stoke-on-Trent, central England, in November because he could not hear a Muslim lawyer who refused to remove her veil. The case resumed after her firm sent another lawyer to represent her client in court.

Forcing a woman to choose between participating in a court case or removing her veil could have a "significant impact on that woman's sense of dignity" and could exclude and marginalise her, the guidelines said.