Ahmed & Luk on Religious Arbitration and Autonomy

A new piece just published in the Oxford Journal of Law and Religion by Farrah Ahmed (Melbourne) and Senwung Luk (private practice), How Religious Arbitration Could Enhance Personal Autonomy.  Readers should be put in mind of the excellent papers and posts by our former guest, Michael Helfand, as well as the work of colloquium presenter and CLR friend Ayelet Shachar.  The abstract follows.

The public debate on religious arbitration often assumes that certain liberal autonomy-based arguments against state recognition of religious arbitration in family law matters are conclusive, ie that religious arbitration necessarily harms personal autonomy. This article challenges that assumption and highlights the autonomy-enhancing potential of religious arbitration. We argue that the state recognition of religious arbitration has the potential to enhance autonomy by facilitating the option of religious practice. We argue that religious arbitration has the potential to enhance the autonomy of religious persons by providing them access to religious expertise. Finally, we indicate how the recognition of religious arbitration protects the autonomy of some by keeping them from a possible autonomy-diminishing alternative.

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