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Working as a Solicitor

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by Daruliftaa.com

Could you please clarify the position of a Muslim who wishes to work as a solicitor in the UK? Is it permissible?

According to respected Mufti Taqi Usmani: advocacy is permissible, but I am presuming this applies to what here; in the UK is the job of a barrister who ”advocates” the case to the court. I am ignorant of the pakistani system. The UK has a two tier system of solicitors and barristers. A solicitor’s job requires the investigation and resourcing of relevant material, according to the area of law and the case being dealt with.

I have stayed away from this profession for the last 3 years just because of this ambiguous dilemma and do not know where I stand with it; especially considering the ”life expectancy” (for entering the Law profession anyway) is expiring.

Please accept my sincere apologies for the length of this question and if possible could a brother familiar to the UK Law system answer this question.

ANSWER

In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,

The Fatwa of Shaykh Taqi Usmani (may Allah preserve him) is also relevant to the UK law system, for (the Shaykh is well versed in western law and economics also) he has mentioned general guidelines that apply to both a barrister (who advocates the case to the court) and a solicitor.

The crux of the matter is that, any work connected to law, advocacy, and legal representation would be permissible provided three conditions are met:

1) It should be for a just cause, and not in helping a guilty or criminal person/party,

2) It should not be practiced in achieving a right that is disapproved by Shariah, such as recovering interest,

3) The means used should not be prohibited in Shariah. (See: Contemporary Fatawa by Mufti Taqi Usmani)

Now, as British law has a two tier system of solicitors and barristers, in that the matter is first presented to a solicitor, and his job is to study the case, investigate the relevant material and prepare it for a barrister.

If a client comes with his case pleading innocence, then a solicitor may well proceed with his case, even if the solicitor may think in his heart that the client is guilty, for one is considered innocent until proven guilty, and there must be sufficient evidence to presume someone to be considered guilty. Thus, it will be permissible for him to prepare the case for the courts and then leave it to the barrister to decide whether the client is found guilty or innocent.

Yes, if there was clear and obvious evidence that the client was guilty or the client himself admitted that he was guilty and asked the solicitor to help him get off the hook, then it would not be permissible for the solicitor to go ahead with his case, for that would be helping a guilty person in an unjust cause. However, it will be permissible to plead for reduction of his sentence on the grounds of genuine mitigating circumstances.

Secondly, if the client asked the solicitor to prepare a case in claiming a right that is disapproved by Shariah, then it would not be permissible to prepare that case. For example, if the client asked him to prepare a case so that he may sue a company and recover interest from them, then that would not be permissible.

Thirdly, the solicitor must not use any unlawful means, such as forged documents, deception, lying and false statements. This will be illegal and against the law also, and if a solicitor was to be caught in such practices, he may well even loose his job.

In conclusion, the same three conditions would apply to a solicitor. If they are complied with, then the job of a solicitor would be permissible.

And Allah knows best

[Mufti] Muhammad ibn Adam
Darul Iftaa
Leicester , UK

This answer was collected from Daruliftaa.com, which is headed by Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam Al-Kawthari. He’s based in the United Kingdom.

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