Law versus medical science: Competition between legal and biological paternity in an Egyptian civil court

Ron Shaham*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

The 1942 lawsuit that is translated, annotated and analyzed in this article raises questions about the judicial acceptability of new types of evidence developed by modern science. A husband who suspected that his wife was carrying the child of her lover asked the ahlī court of summary justice in Alexandria to determine the identity of the child's biological father by means of a blood-group test. The judge's refusal to comply with the request, on the grounds that he lacked jurisdiction, reflects a decision by Egyptian legislators and judges to leave the establishment of paternity to evidentiary rules that are shaped by cultural values about marriage, legitimacy and morality. These values do not always favor decision-making based on the full range of scientifically available facts.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)219-249
Number of pages31
JournalIslamic Law and Society
Volume18
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2011

Keywords

  • Islamic law vs. modern science
  • adultery
  • expert witnesses
  • legal)
  • paternity (biological
  • paternity tests
  • shari.a and civil courts

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