Washington International Law Journal


Amanda Whiting


Although much has been written about the place of Islam, as law and as religion, in Malaysia, considerably less attention has been paid to Islamic lawyers (“peguam syarie”). This article undertakes a preliminary examination of a topic that demands closer scrutiny, relying chiefly upon parliamentary acts, state enactments and the rules made pursuant to them, as well as in-depth oral history interviews with Islamic and secular lawyers that were recorded from May through August 2010. It describes the training and practice of Islamic lawyers in one jurisdiction of the federation of Malaysia—the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan—making comparisons with other states, particularly the state of Selangor, as appropriate. Comparison is also made with aspects of the training, professional accreditation and ethical regulation of secular lawyers in the parallel civil law system in order to identify the similarities as well as differences between these two forms of legal practice.

First Page