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Bahrain: Call to adopt special family law codes for non-muslims

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A leading senior female Bahraini lawyer is calling for authorities to adopt the Special Family Law Codes for non-Muslims. 

Senior Attorney and Legal Consultant Lubna Mohamed Hasan Al Hasan’s comment comes in the backdrop of increasing investments in Bahrain from the part of expatriates and non-resident foreign citizens.

“If we think in an economic aspect, the world economy is one unit with many national economies integrated into it. So, it is important for us to have rules and regulations that are compliant with the set standards of the world economy,” she opined.

A former professor for International Business Relations and Laws at the University of Technology Bahrain (formerly AMA International University of Bahrain), Ms Lubna said “we can’t take a myopic view over the fact that the Kingdom is an integral part of the world economic framework”.

“As of now, inheritance cases involving non-Muslims are dealt with by civil courts in the Kingdom. This is the right time for a reform in the larger interest of the investors from abroad as well as the expatriate community.

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“Over 20 years ago, in 2001 when the National Action Charter was issued, there was an important mention of Family Law in it. However, despite having a Constitutional background, the Family Law Code only became a practical reality in the Kingdom in 2009, which was later amended in the year 2017. 

“I along with many other legal professionals have placed many proposals and submissions before the authorities concerned and the Legislative Body to enact Family Law Codes in line with the Kingdom’s Constitution and National Action Charter before they became a practical reality in the year 2009.

“I feel really proud to have taken up this issue since women empowerment is one of the basic principles of Family Law Codes. We were a group of women lawyers who campaigned for it.”

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Ms Lubna, who was formerly associated with the Ministries of Housing, Works, Electricity and Water, said Bahrain also requires special courts dealing with International Business Relations and Laws. “These courts must have specially-trained judges who are proficient in both English and Arabic.” 

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Ms Lubna is the daughter of Mohammed Hasan Al Hasan, a legal luminary, who was among Bahrain’s first to set up a private legal consultancy.

She said she is overwhelmed to see many youngsters opting law as their career choice. “Any branch of law, be it criminal or civil, basically deals with human rights and their violations. So, I urge budding legal professionals to show 100 per cent commitment towards human rights, which forms the basis of the discipline of their choice.” 

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The Daily Tribune earlier quoted legal professionals as saying that Bahrain’s inheritance rules need a tweak to facilitate the easy transfer of funds to legal heirs in case a labourer or resident dies.

It is also learnt that there are a few expatriate business families, who have been engaged in “long legal procedures in the country of their origin” to establish legal heirship following the sudden death of their family head. 

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