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Book Announcement: Family Law in Syria

Dear Colleagues,

I am delighted to announce that my book Family Law in Syria. Patriarchy, Pluralism and Personal Status Laws is now out with I.B. Tauris (London, UK).


The current Syrian crisis has its roots in the sectarian nature of the country’s multi-religious society. Since Ottoman times, the different religious communities have enjoyed the right to regulate and administer their own family relations. Matters of personal status including marriage, divorce, child custody and inheritance continue to be managed by a variety of religious laws and courts operating simultaneously within the legal system of the state. However, this complex system of competing jurisdictions has also affected inter-communal relations and has been used to deepen communal divides. Esther van Eijk discusses socio-legal practices in Syria by focusing on three courts: a shar‘iyya, a Catholic court and a Greek-Orthodox court. While the plurality of Syrian family law is clear, she shows how – irrespective of religious affiliation – it is nevertheless characterised by the prevalence of shared cultural or patriarchal views and norms on marital relations, family and gender. Based on extensive fieldwork, Family Law in Syria offers a detailed analysis of a country that has in recent years been inaccessible to researchers. The book is a vital contribution to the growing literature on personal status laws in the Middle East and sheds light on the historical, socio-political and religious complexities and fault-lines that mark contemporary Syria.

‘This book is a significant addition to the literature on contemporary family law in the Middle East, with valuable research material on Syrian law and court practice presented within the frames of emerging scholarly themes.’ – Lynn Welchman, Professor of law, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)

‘This is an excellent piece of work in a poorly researched topic. Indeed, while the personal status of Muslims attracted much attention, family law of non-Muslim communities in Muslim-majority societies was neglected. However, [van Eijk’s] study provides a wonderful entry into the legal and social evolutions of contemporary multi-confessional societies in which co-existence and tolerance became especially problematic recently.’ – Baudouin Dupret, Associate Professor for Law, Political Science and Anthropology at University of Leiden, Netherlands

For more information see:{FE151E5B-2A65-4E60-9F5A-6671400BE59B}

When you order online go to and enter the discount code (see attached flyer) when prompted (for individuals only), which will give you a 30% discount (Special Offer Price £48.30).

Esther van Eijk