Procedure Rules of Muslim Arbitration Tribunal

The Procedural Rules which regulate and govern MAT ensure that MAT operates within defined parameters. The Procedural Rules require that the Tribunal must consist of at least two members, one a scholar of Islamic Sacred Law and the other a Solicitors or Barrister registered to practice in England or Wales.

Procedure Rules of the

Muslim Arbitration Tribunal

Overriding objective

1. The overriding objective of these Rules is to secure that proceedings before the Tribunal are settled in so far as possible -

  1. in accordance with Qur’anic Injunctions and Prophetic Practice as determined by the recognised Schools of Islamic Sacred Law;

  2. as fairly, quickly and efficiently as possible; and

  3. where appropriate, that members of the Tribunal have responsibility for ensuring this in the interests of the parties to the proceedings and in the wider public interest.

Request for hearing
2(1). The request for hearing must be in writing and must -

(a) be addressed to the Tribunal;

(b) state the name and address of the applicant and respondent;

(c) state whether the applicant has authorised a representative to act for him in the case and, if so, give the representative's name and address;

(d) set out the grounds for the case;

(e) give reasons in support of those grounds; and

(f) so far as reasonably practicable, list any documents and the name and address of any witnesses which the applicant intends to rely upon as evidence in support of the case.

(2) The request for hearing must if applicable be accompanied by a copy of any relevant decisions against which the applicant is aggrieved.

(3) The request for hearing must be signed by the applicant or his representative, and dated.

(4) If a request for hearing is signed by the applicant's representative, the representative must certify in the request for hearing that he has completed it in accordance with the applicant's instructions.

Filing of documents by respondent

3(1) When the respondent is served with a copy of a request for hearing, it must (unless it has already done so) file with the Tribunal a copy of any –

(a) statement(s) of evidence in its possession;
(b) any other document relied upon by the respondent.

(2) The respondent must file the documents listed in paragraph (1) -

(a) in accordance with any directions given by the Tribunal; and

(b) if no such directions are given, as soon as reasonably practicable and in any event not later than 2.00 p.m. on the business day before the date appointed for any hearing in relation to the case.

Withdrawal of case
4(1) An applicant may withdraw a case -

(a) orally, at a hearing; or
(b) at any time, by filing written notice with the Tribunal.

Hearing case in absence of a party
5(1) The Tribunal may hear a case in the absence of a party if satisfied that -

  1. a representative of the party is present at the hearing;

  2. the party is outside the United Kingdom;

  3. the party is suffering from a communicable disease or there is a risk of him behaving in a violent or disorderly manner;

  4. the party is unable to attend the hearing because of illness, accident or some other good reason;

  5. the party is unrepresented and it is impracticable to give him notice of the hearing; or

  6. the party has notified the Tribunal that he does not wish to attend the hearing.

Hearing two or more cases together

6(1) Where two or more cases are pending at the same time, the Tribunal may direct them to be heard together if it appears that –

  1. some common question of law or fact arises in each of them;

  2. they relate to decisions or action taken in respect of persons who are members of the same family; or

  3. for some other reason it is desirable for the cases to be heard together.

Adjournment of cases
7(1) Subject to any provision of these Rules, the Tribunal may adjourn any hearing.

(2) Where a party applies for an adjournment of a hearing of a case, he must -

(a) if practicable, notify all other parties of the application;
(b) show good reason why an adjournment is necessary; and
(c) produce evidence of any fact or matter relied upon in support of the application.

(3) The Tribunal must not adjourn a hearing of a case on the application of a party, unless satisfied that the case cannot otherwise be justly determined.

(4) The Tribunal must not, in particular, adjourn a hearing on the application of a party in order to allow the party more time to produce evidence, unless satisfied that -

(a) the evidence relates to a matter in dispute in the case;

(b) it would be unjust to determine the case without permitting the party a further opportunity to produce the evidence; and

(c) where the party has failed to comply with directions for the production of the evidence, he has provided a satisfactory explanation for that failure.

(5) Where the hearing of a case is adjourned, the Tribunal will fix a new hearing date which -

(a) shall be not more than 28 days after the original hearing date, unless the Tribunal is satisfied that because of exceptional circumstances the case cannot justly be heard within that time; and

(b) shall in any event be not later than is strictly required by the circumstances necessitating the adjournment.

Giving of determination

8(1) In arriving at its decision, the Tribunal may consider but not be bound by any previous decision of the Tribunal.

(2) In arriving at its decision, the Tribunal shall take into account the Laws of England and Wales and the recognised Schools of Islamic Sacred Law.

(3) Where the Tribunal determines a case it must serve on every party a written determination containing its decision and the reasons for it, not later than 14 days after the hearing finishes.

Conduct of cases and applications

9(1) The Tribunal may, subject to these Rules, decide the procedure to be followed in relation to any case or application.

(2) Anything of a formal or administrative nature which is required or permitted to be done by the Tribunal under these Rules may be done by a member of the Tribunal's staff.

Constitution of the Tribunal

10 (1) The Tribunal shall consist of as a minimum a:

  1. Scholar of Islamic Sacred Law

  2. Solicitor or Barrister of England and Wales


11 (1) The Tribunal may give directions to the parties relating to the conduct of any case or application.

(2) The power to give directions is to be exercised subject to any specific provision of these Rules.

(3) Directions must be given orally or in writing to every party.

(4) Directions of the Tribunal may, in particular –

(a) relate to any matter concerning the preparation for a hearing;
(b) specify the length of time allowed for anything to be done;
(c) provide for -

(i) a particular matter to be dealt with as a preliminary issue;

(ii) a case management review hearing to be held;

(iii) a party to provide further details of his case, or any other information which appears to be necessary for the determination of the case;

(iv) the witnesses, if any, to be heard;

(v) the manner in which any evidence is to be given.

(e) require any party to file and serve -

(i) statements of the evidence which will be called at the hearing;

(ii) a paginated and indexed bundle of all the documents which will be relied on at the hearing;

(iii) a skeleton argument which summarises succinctly the submissions which will be made at the hearing and cites all the authorities which will be relied on, identifying any particular passages to be relied on;

(iv) a time estimate for the hearing;

(v) a list of witnesses whom any party wishes to call to give evidence;

(vi) a chronology of events; and

(vii) details of whether an interpreter will be required at the hearing, and in respect of what language and dialect;

(f) limit -

(i) the number or length of documents upon which a party may rely at a hearing;

(ii) the length of oral submissions;

(iii) the time allowed for the examination and cross-examination of witnesses; and

(iv) the issues which are to be addressed at a hearing;

(g) require the parties to take any steps to enable two or more cases to be heard together;

(h) provide for a hearing to be conducted or evidence given or representations made by video link or by other electronic means; and

(i) only where the safety or well-being of a witness could be compromised, to make provision to secure the anonymity of the witness.

(5) The Tribunal must not direct an unrepresented party to do something unless it is satisfied that he is able to comply with the direction.

Notification of hearings

12 (1) When the Tribunal fixes a hearing it must serve notice of the date, time and place of the hearing on every party.

(2) The Tribunal may vary the date of a hearing, but must serve notice of the new date, time and place of the hearing on every party.


13 (1) An applicant may act in person or be represented by any person.

(2) A respondent to a case may be represented by any person authorised to act on his behalf.

(3) Where a representative begins to act for a party, he must immediately notify the Tribunal and the other party of that fact.

(4) Where a representative is acting for a party, he may on behalf of that party do anything that these Rules require or permit that party to do.

(5) Where a representative is acting for an applicant, the applicant is under a duty -

(a) to maintain contact with his representative until the case is finally determined; and

(b) to notify the representative of any change of address.

(6) Where a representative ceases to act for a party, the representative and the party must immediately notify the Tribunal and the other party of that fact, and of the name and address of any new representative (if known).

(7) Notification under paragraph (4) or (6) -

(a) may be given orally at a hearing to the Tribunal and to any other party present at that hearing; but

(b) must otherwise be given in writing.


14 (1) The Tribunal may allow oral, documentary or other evidence to be given of any fact which appears to be relevant to a case

(2) The Tribunal may not compel a party or witness to give any evidence.

(3) All witnesses must testify in the form and manner prescribed by Islamic Sacred Law.

(4) Where the Tribunal has given directions setting time limits for the filing and serving of written evidence, it must not consider any written evidence which is not filed or served in accordance with those directions unless satisfied that the overriding objective shall not be achieved.

(5) Where a party seeks to rely upon a copy of a document as evidence, the Tribunal may require the original document to be produced.

(6) The Tribunal must not take account of any evidence that has not been made available to all the parties.


Language of documents

15 (1) Subject to paragraph (2) -

  1. any notice of case or application notice filed with the Tribunal must be completed in English; and

  2. any other document filed with the Tribunal must be in English, or accompanied by a translation into English signed by the translator to certify that the translation is accurate.

(2) The Tribunal shall be under no duty to consider a document which is not in English, or accompanied by a certified translation.

Burden of proof

16(1) If any party asserts any fact, it is for that party to prove that fact as true. The standard of proof required by the Tribunal will be on a balance of probabilities.

Admission of public to hearings

17 (1) Subject to the following provisions of this rule, every hearing before the Tribunal must be held in private unless the parties agree to a public hearing.

(2) The Tribunal may of its own motion exclude any or all members of the public from any hearing or part of a hearing if it is necessary -

(a) in the interests of public order or national security;
(b) to protect the private life of a party or the interests of a minor; or

(c) to achieve the overriding objective.

(3) The Tribunal may also exclude any or all members of the public from any hearing or part of a hearing to ensure that publicity does not prejudice the interests of justice, but only if and to the extent that it is strictly necessary to do so.

Filing and service of documents

18(1) Any document which is required or permitted by these Rules or by a direction of the Tribunal to be filed with the Tribunal, or served on any person may be -

(a) delivered, or sent by post, to an address;
(b) sent via a document exchange to a document exchange number or address;
(c) sent by fax to a fax number; or
(d) sent by e-mail to an e-mail address,

specified for that purpose by the Tribunal or person to whom the document is directed.

(2) A document to be served on an individual may be served personally by leaving it with that individual.

(3) Where a person has notified the Tribunal that he is acting as the representative of an applicant and has given an address for service, if a document is served on the applicant, a copy must also at the same time be sent to the applicant's representative.

(4) If any document is served on a person who has notified the Tribunal that he is acting as the representative of a party, it shall be deemed to have been served on that party.

(5) Any document that is served on a person in accordance with this rule shall, unless the contrary is proved, be deemed to be served -

(a) where the document is sent by post or document exchange from and to a place within the United Kingdom, on the 3rd day after it was sent;

(b) where the document is sent by post or document exchange from or to a place outside the United Kingdom, on the 21st day after it was sent; and

(c) in any other case, on the day on which the document was sent or delivered to, or left with, that person.

Address for service

19 (1) Every party, and any person representing a party, must notify the Tribunal in writing of a postal address at which documents may be served on him and of any changes to that address.

(2) Until a party or representative notifies the Tribunal of a change of address, any document served on him at the most recent address which he has notified to the Tribunal shall be deemed to have been properly served on him.

Signature of documents

20. Any requirement in these Rules for a document to be signed by a party or his representative shall be satisfied, in the case of a document which is filed or served electronically in accordance with these rules, by the person who is required to sign the document typing his name or producing it by computer or other mechanical means.

Errors of procedure

21 (1) Where, before the Tribunal has determined a case or application, there has been an error of procedure such as a failure to comply with a rule –

  1. subject to these Rules, the error does not invalidate any step taken in the proceedings, unless the Tribunal so orders; and

  2. the Tribunal may make any order, or take any other step, that it considers appropriate to remedy the error.

  1. (2) In particular, any determination made in a case or application under these Rules shall be valid notwithstanding that the determination was not made or served, within the time period specified in these Rules.

Correction of orders and determinations

22 (1) The Tribunal may at any time amend an order, notice of decision or determination to correct a clerical error or other accidental slip or omission.

(2) Where an order, notice of decision or determination is amended under this rule, the Tribunal must serve an amended version on the party or parties on whom it served the original.


23 No appeal shall be made against any decisions of the Tribunal. This rule shall not prevent any party applying for Judicial Review with permission of the High Court.