Mohammad Fadel

Mohammad Fadel is Associate Professor at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law.

About Mohammad Fadel

Mohammad H. Fadel is Canada Research Chair in the Law and Economics of Islamic Law at the Faculty of Law, University of Toronto, which he joined in January 2006. He received his B.A. in government and foreign affairs from the University of Virginia (1988), a Ph.D. in Near Eastern languages and civilizations at the University of Chicago (1995), and his J.D. from the University of Virginia (1999). While at the University of Virginia School of Law, Professor Fadel was a John M. Olin Law and Economics Scholar and articles development editor of the Virginia Law Review.

Professor Fadel’s doctoral dissertation is on legal process in medieval Islamic law. Professor Fadel was admitted to the Bar of New York in 2000 and practiced law with the firm of Sullivan & Cromwell LLP in New York, New York, where he worked on a wide variety of corporate finance transactions and securities-related regulatory investigations. In addition, Professor Fadel served as a law clerk to the Honorable Paul V. Niemeyer of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and the Honorable Anthony A. Alaimo of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Georgia. Professor Fadel has published numerous articles on Islamic legal history.

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PRESENTATION TOPIC

Legal Culture and the Problem of Article 2 in the Egyptian Constitution

The status of pre-modern Islamic law within the modern Egyptian legal system continues to be deeply contested.  Although Article 2 of the Egyptian Constitution declares that “The principles of Islamic law are the chief source of legislation” for the Egyptian state, it hardly settles the question.  Much has been written about Article 2 and whether it has any practical relevance to the overall character of the Egyptian legal system.  This paper will explore another question: specifically, does it make sense, from an institutional design perspective, to graft substantive Islamic law onto what is, essentially, a civil legal system?  The paper will argue that if the Egyptian state does indeed wish to incorporate the pre-modern Islamic legal tradition into its modern legal system, it would be better served if judges were required to produce written opinions in the manner characteristic of common law systems.  The process of producing written opinions justifying decisions in the light of both the modern civil code and “the principles of Islamic law” appears to be the most reasonably available strategy for reconciling these twin aims of Egyptian legislation: to produce a modern body of national law that is nevertheless cognizably Islamic.