The Law Society has withdrawn a controversial practice note giving guidance on sharia succession principles following critical feedback, it announced today. 

The note was published in March in response to requests from solicitors who had been instructed to prepare a valid will in line with sharia succession rules. Its publication prompted criticism from women’s groups and secularists.

In an open letter to council members in September, opponents said that the practice note ‘gives rise to equality issues since it provides guidance to solicitors which endorses gender discriminatory laws’.

In a statement today, Andrew Caplen, Law Society president, said: ‘Our practice note was intended to support members to better serve their clients as far as is allowed by the law of England and Wales. We reviewed the note in the light of criticism. We have withdrawn the note and we are sorry.’

Charlie Klendjian, secretary of the Lawyers' Secular Society, said: 'We hope this campaign will alert the legal profession to the ever-present threat of unwelcome religious influences on our legal system, and especially sharia. We hope the legal profession will recognise the importance of maintaining a secular legal system no matter what.'