Leading family solicitor Anne-Marie Hutchinson OBE QC (hon), a partner at family firm Dawson Cornwell, is among the members of a panel charged with carrying out an independent review of sharia law named by the home secretary today.

The panel will be chaired by Professor Mona Siddiqui, an expert in Islamic and inter-religious studies, and include family law barrister Sam Momtaz and retired High Court judge Sir Mark Hedley.

Home secretary Theresa May (pictured) announced an independent review of the application of sharia as part of the government’s counter-extremism strategy.

Its terms of reference are to explore whether, and to what extent, the application of sharia may be incompatible with the law in England and Wales. 'It will examine the ways in which sharia may be being misused, or exploited, in a way that may discriminate against certain groups, undermine shared values and cause social harms,' the Home Office said. 

The panel will be advised by two religious and theological experts – Imam Sayed Ali Abbas Razawi and Imam Qari Asim. It is due to complete its review next year. 

May said: 'A number of women have reportedly been victims of what appear to be discriminatory decisions taken by sharia councils, and that is a significant concern. There is only one rule of law in our country, which provides rights and security for every citizen.'

Siddiqui said: 'At a time when there is so much focus on Muslims in the UK, this will be a wide-ranging, timely and thorough review as to what actually happens in sharia councils.'