Protection of Women Against Violence – New bill passed by the Punjab Assembly

On 25 February 2016, the Provincial Assembly of Punjab passed the Punjab Protection of Women Against Violence Bill, 2015 (the “Protection Bill”).

Q. What is it?

The Protection Bill aims to make a “special provision for the protection of women”, “to protect women against violence including domestic violence, to establish a protection system for effective service delivery to women victims and to create an enabling environment to encourage and facilitate women freely to play their desired role in the society, and to provide for ancillary matters”.

Q. What is domestic violence?

Section 2 (h) defines “domestic violence” as:

the violence committed by the defendant with whom the aggrieved is living or has lived in a house when they are related to each other by consanguinity, marriage or adoption;

Section 2 (r) defines “violence” as:

any offence committed against a woman including abetment of an offence, domestic violence, emotional, psychological and verbal abuse, economic abuse, stalking or a cybercrime;

Q. What are the other key definitions of the Protection Bill?

The following definitions, in Section 2, are key:

(a) “aggrieved person” means a woman who has been subjected to violence by a defendant;

(e) “dependent child” means a child who is below the age of twelve years of age and includes any adopted, step or foster child;

(j) “house” includes a place where the aggrieved person lives in a domestic relationship irrespective of right to ownership or possession of the aggrieved person, defendant or joint family;

Q. What are the plans for implementation?

For implementation, Section 3 provides that the Government shall, amongst others:

(a) institute (establish) a universal toll free dial-in-number for the aggrieved persons;

(b) establish Protection Centres and shelter homes under a phased programme;

(c) appoint necessary staff at a Protection Centre for mediation and reconciliation between the parties, rescue, medical examination, medical and psychological treatment and legal help of the aggrieved persons and proper investigation of offences committed against aggrieved persons;

(d) raise awareness about the issues involving women and the requirements of protection and relief of the aggrieved persons.

Q. What steps should be taken to seek protection and what happens then?

1. The aggrieved person, or any other person authorized by the aggrieved, or a Women Protection Officer, appointed under Section 14 of the Protection Bill, may submit a complaint for obtaining a protection, residence or monetary order for the aggrieved.

2. The relevant court shall be (1) where the aggrieved resides or carries on business; (2) where the defendant resides and carries on business; (3) where the aggrieved and the defendant last resided together.

3. The court shall then start proceedings not more than seven (7) days of the date of receipt of the complaint by the court.

4. The defendant shall be notified to show cause (appear in court) within seven (7) days. If a defendant fails to respond within the specific time, the court shall, subject to another notice to the defendant, assume that the defendant has no plausible defense and proceed to pass such order as the court deems fit.

Q. How will the court protect the victim.

1. Protective Order: If the court is satisfied that any violence has been committed, or is likely to be committed, the court may pass a protection order in favour of the aggrieved person and direct the defendant to, inter alia, not communicate with the victim, stay away from the victim, stay at a particular distance from the victim, wear an ankle or wrist GPS tracker to track the movement of the defendant at all hours, surrender any weapons, refrain from entering the place of employment of the victim, refrain from causing or aiding or abetting any act of violence; and/or refrain from committing such acts as may be specified in the protection order.

2. Residence Order: In the event of domestic violence, the court may pass a residence order directing that, inter alia, the victim shall not be evicted from the house, the victim has the right to stay in the house, the defendant shall not sell or transfer the house to any person other than the victim, the victim may be relocated to a shelter home (established under Section 13 of the Protection Bill), and/or the victim be relocated to some alternative accommodation.

3. Monetary Order: The court may also pass a monetary order ordering the defendant to pay monetary relief to meet the expenses incurred and losses suffered by the defendant which may include, inter alia, loss of earning, medical expense, damages for destruction of property, and/or maintenance of the victim and her dependent children.

Q. Where does the aggrieved person go during proceedings?

Under Section 5 of the Protection Bill, the victim shall not be evicted from the house without her consent.

Q. What are some of the shortfalls of the Protection Bill?

Some shortfalls are:

  1. The offender, it appears, can only be a person who is known to the victim by consanguinity, marriage, or adoption and does not cover such relations that the victim may have to face on a day to day but do not fall within this category, such as relatives-in-law.
  2. The legislation only provides for domestic violence against women; whereas, men may also be victims of domestic violence.
  3. The stringent timelines in the Protection Bill places a heavy burden on the courts without any mechanism of assistance to the courts.
  4. The requirement to consistently monitor protection officers to ensure that such officers do not add to the distress and instead handle issues with care, empathy, and efficiency.
  5. Regular training to the toll-free number representatives to ensure that they are able to provide advice in a quick and efficient manner, respect anonymity, and are available round the clock.
  6. The legislation does not cover dowry and the culpability of giving or receiving the same. The analogous legislation in India, Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, criminalized the offence of giving and receiving dowry.
  7. The need for mechanisms to ensure that this legislation is not misused, for example, verbal abuse is a wide term to report violence. Such mechanisms, though, should not be at the cost of restricting, reserving or downplaying genuine cases of violence against women and should not give too much discretion to the reporting officers.
  8. Custody of children should have been included in the legislation to ensure that the victim is not deprived of full right to her children.
  9. The legislation appears to have the limited scope of civil instead of (the more preferable) criminal law. Criminal sanctions (arrest and imprisonment) require a further offense by the accused respondent (such as violating a protection order issued under this law). This may, however, be a deliberate factor of the legislators to ensure quick and flexible relief for the victim.

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Myra Khan is a Barrister-at-Law from the Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn and (ex) Vice Chairperson Women Rights Committee of the Lahore High Court Bar Association. She is currently practicing law in Lahore, Pakistan.

Any queries may be directed to lawyereadia@gmail.com

Gift under Islamic Law

18 December 2015

Under Muhammadan Law, a share in the estate of the testator can be transferred by way of a gift (Section 149).

The three (3) essentials of a gift (“hiba“) are:

(a) there should be a declaration of a gift by the donor;

(b) an acceptance of the gift, express or implied, by or on behalf of the donee; and

(c) delivery of possession of the subject of the gift by the donor to the donee (Section 150).

If these conditions are complied with, the gift is complete.

1. The Donor

Any person, who can execute a contract, can make a gift of his property in Islam.

Like the requirements of contract, the conditions to be able to make a gift are that, the donor should be: (a) at the age of majority, (b) of sound mind; (c) by his own free will and without any pressure or coercion to make the gift; and (d) the absolute owner of the property to be gifted.

The declaration, to make a gift, by the donor must be clear and  unambiguous and reflect the absolute intention of the donor to gift his property.

A gift by a married woman is valid and is subjected to same legal rules as mentioned above.

A gift by an insolvent person is also valid provided that it is bona fide and not with the intention to defraud the creditors.

2. The Donee

The one who can receives or accepts the gift is known as the donee.

Acceptance may be made expressly or implied by conduct. Any person can receive a gift if he or she is in existence at the time of the gift.

A gift to an unborn child is invalid, unless such child is born within six (6) months of the date of gift. In such case the gift to the unborn child will be valid as it was made on the presumption that the child was actually alive and existing in the womb of the mother.

In the case of a minor, possession of the gift is given to the legal guardian of the minor.

A lawful gift can also be made to non-muslim, so long as the Donee is in existence at the time of giving the gift.

The most important component of a gift is “acceptance” and “delivery”. A gift is void is acceptance has not been given by the Donee. A gift is also invalid if the possession of the property has not passed to the Donee so that the Donee reaps the benefit of the property. If the Donor is still enjoying the benefits of the property then such gift is invalid.

A gift that does not take effect immediately is of no effect whatsoever.

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Myra Khan is a Barrister-at-Law from the Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn and Vice Chairperson Women Rights Committee of the Lahore High Court Bar Association. She is currently practicing law in Lahore, Pakistan.

Any queries may be directed to lawyereadia@gmail.com

Procedure of Divorce in Pakistan – Part III (Miscellaneous)

6 February 2014

Procedure of Divorce in Pakistan – Part III (Miscellaneous)

1. Divorce in Shia Law:

A divorce must be pronounced orally in the presence of two (2) competent witnesses and a talaq / divorce communicated in writing is not valid unless husband is incapable of pronouncing it orally. Presence of witnesses is a condition precedent of a valid talaq / divorce according to Fiqha Jafria (Shia Faction).

2. Important point re verbal divorce (as detailed in my blogpost dated 4 February 2014 (Procedure of Divorce in Pakistan – Part II (Divorce))):

A verbal divorce is not recognized by law and the husband’s failure to send written notice to the government office is treated as no divorce in law. However it is also important to note that as per Islamic scholars, divorce once pronounced by the husband and khula once obtained from the court of law is effective and binding.

3. Important clauses to retain in the Nikkahnama (reference picture* attached below):

It is standard practice to slash Clause 18 in the Nikkahnama which reads (with English translation) as follows:

18. Aya shohar ne talaq ka haq biwi ko tafweez kardiya hai

(Has the husband granted the right of divorce to the wife)

Agar kardiya hai tou konsi sharayat ke tehet

(if he has, then under what conditions is such right granted)

The above Clause pertains to the wife’s right of divorce and should be retained in the Nikkahnama. Moreover, Clause 19 gives the wife the right to put conditions on the husband’s right of divorce too.

4. Rights of the wife after divorce:

(1) The wife is entitled to receive her complete haq mehr (the amount agreed during the signing of the Nikkahnama) and any bridal gifts given to her as jahez (dowry) or by her husband’s family. In respect of Khula, the wife is required to forego her claim to the haq mehr.

(2) Upon the dissolution the wife is also entitled to claim deferred haq mehr and maintenance (in an amount decided by the courts) during the period of Iddat (three (3) month waiting period after which the divorce is final).

5. The next step, after the husband sends a notice to the Union Council and a copy to the wife, is that within thirty (30) days of receipt of the notice by the Chairman (Union Council), the Chairman shall constitute an arbitration council for the purpose of bringing about reconciliation between the parties. If such reconciliation proceeds, after expiry of ninety (90) days, fail, then divorce shall take effect.

6.  If the whereabouts of a husband are unknown for a period of four (4) years then the wife can, under the Dissolution of Muslim Marriage Act, 1939, end the marriage.

7. During the proceedings or after the divorce if any party feels threatened by the other, the threatened party may file a complaint at the police station of that area, against the other.

8. For the sake of evidence and to avoid future complications, both parties are advised to collect their divorce certificate (Talaqnama) from the Union Council and keep it safe.

*reference picture as per Paragraph 3 (Important Clauses of Nikkahnama) above:

Image

 

Disclaimer: The above information is not legal advice but basic guidelines in respect of divorce in Pakistan. Each case is decided/evaluated/prepared in accordance with the individual/unique facts of the case. Nothing provided herein should be used as a substitute for advice of competent counsel.

______________________

Myra Khan Qureshi is a Barrister-at-Law from the Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn and Vice Chairperson Women Rights Committee of the Lahore High Court Bar Association. She is currently practicing law in Lahore, Pakistan.

Any queries may be directed to lawyereadia@gmail.com

 

Procedure of Divorce in Pakistan – Part II (Divorce)

4 February 2014

Procedure of Divorce in Pakistan – Part II (Divorce)

Gist: Three (3) pronouncements of talaq in front of witnesses, make it effective. However, under the law, it is mandatory to issue, as soon as possible, a notice to the Chairman of the Union Council and a copy of such  notice to the wife. Ninety (90) days from the delivery of such notice, the talaq is deemed effective. Not following such procedure results in the revocation of the talaq by the husband and thus, ineffective.

1. Pronouncement of divorce three (3) times:

There remains much confusion around whether three (3) pronouncements of “talaq” in one sitting, by the husband, are valid or not under the laws of Pakistan. The question resonates across households, television dramas and awareness programs. Under the traditional laws of Islam, a divorce is deemed to have taken place when a husband pronounces three (3) times “main tumhain talaq deta hoon” or “I divorce you” in the presence of witnesses. Such a pronouncement has the effect of dissolving the marriage instantly. Moreover, the wife need not be present when the husband divorces his wife.

The law in Pakistan has however, standardized this process to provide legitimacy and clarity to the proceedings.

Under Section 7 of the Muslim Family Law Ordinance, 1961, the formal requirements for the recognition of a talaq (divorce) are as follows:

(1) Any man who wishes to divorce his wife shall, as soon as may be after the pronouncement of talaq in any form whatsoever, give the chairman (of the Union Council) a notice in writing of his having done so, and shall supply a copy thereof to the wife.

(2) Whoever, contravenes the provisions of sub-section (1) shall be punishable with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine which may extend to five thousand rupees, or with both.

(3) Save as provided in sub-section (5) talaq, unless revoked earlier, expressly or otherwise, shall not be effective until the expiration of ninety days from day on which notice under sub-section (1) is delivered to the Chairman.

(4) Within thirty days of the receipt of notice under Sub-section (1), the Chairman shall constitute an Arbitration Council for the purpose of bringing about a reconciliation between the parties, and the Arbitration Council shall take all steps necessary to bring about such reconciliation.

(5) If the wife be pregnant at the time talaq is pronounced, talaq shall not be effective until the period mentioned in sub-section (3) or the pregnancy, whichever later, ends.

(6) Nothing shall debar a wife whose marriage has been terminated by talaq effective under this section from remarrying the same husband, without an intervening marriage with a third person, unless such termination is for the third time so effective.

Firstly, if no notice is given to the Chairman, the talaq, albeit effective, is deemed to be revoked by the husband (see, Ali Nawaz Gardezi vs. Lt. Col Muhammad Yusuf, PLD 1963 SC 51 and Ghulam Fatima vs. Abdul Qayyum, PLD 1981 SC 460.)

Secondly, it is mandatory that the husband issue a copy of the notice to the wife, otherwise the talaq (divorce) would be ineffective (see, Ghulam Nabi vs Farruk Latif, 1986 SCMR 1350 and Inamul Islam vs. Hussain Bano, PLD 1976 Lahore 1466).

If the above conditions are fulfilled, the talaq (divorce) becomes effective ninety (90) days from the notice.

2. Revocation of divorce:

If the notice of talaq (divorce) has been sent, it can be revoked before the expiry of ninety (90) days from the date of delivery. In the event of such revocation, the talaq (divorce) becomes ineffective.

3. Divorce by mutual consent:

A husband and wife can dissolve their marriage through a mutual agreement (“Talaq-e-Mubarat” meaning ‘obtaining release from each other’).

In such case, the offer for separation may proceed either from the wife or the husband and the dissolution is complete as soon as the other party accepts such offer.

Disclaimer: The above information is not legal advice but basic guidelines in respect of divorce in Pakistan. Each case is decided/evaluated/prepared in accordance with the individual/unique facts of the case. Nothing provided herein should be used as a substitute for advice of competent counsel.

______________________

Myra Khan Qureshi is a Barrister-at-Law from the Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn and Vice Chairperson Women Rights Committee of the Lahore High Court Bar Association. She is currently practicing law in Lahore, Pakistan.

Any queries may be directed to lawyereadia@gmail.com

Procedure of Divorce in Pakistan – Part I (Khula)

26 January 2014

*This post is one in a series of posts regarding divorce (talaq/khula) in Pakistan. This post provides information primarily for “Khula” (a woman’s right of divorce under law). The remaining part of the series shall deal with (1) Procedure of Talaq by a Husband; (2) Property of the Wife after Divorce; and (3) Miscellaneous provisions re harassment by the spouse/family after divorce, overseas parties, drafting the suit for divorce and re-marriage.

Procedure of Divorce in Pakistan – Part I (Khula)

1. Marriage can be dissolved by:

(1) divorce by the husband at his will without any intervention of the Court (i.e. “Talaaq”).

(2) by the mutual consent of the husband and wife and without the need for intervention of the Court;

(3) by the wife in exercise of her contractual right of divorce (i.e “Khula”); or

(4) by the judicial intervention of the Court on the application of either party.

If delegated such right in the Nikkahnama, a wife can divorce the husband, such right is called a Talak-e-Tafweez (i.e delegated powers of divorce). Husband may delegate right to divorce while contracting marriage in the Nikkahnama.

2. “Khula” is:

Khula is the contractual right of a woman to seek a divorce from her husband in Islam for compensation (usually monetary) paid back to the husband from the wife. Khula allows a woman to initiate a divorce through the mutual consent of the husband or a judicial decree.

A woman seeks Khula while man gives a Talaq.

3. What grounds are available to seek Khula:

Under Section 3 of the Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act, 1939 (the “Act”):

A woman shall be entitled to obtain a decree for the dissolution of her marriage on any one or more of the following grounds, namely:

(i) that the whereabouts of the husband have not been known for a period of four (4) years;

(ii) that the husband has neglected or has filed to provide for her maintenance for a period of two (2) years;

(ii-a) that the husband has taken an additional wife;

(iii) that the husband has been sentenced to imprisonment for a period of seven (7) years or more;

(iv) that the husband has failed to perform, without reasonable cause, his marital obligations for a period of three (3) years;

(v) that the husband was impotent at the time of the marriage and continues to be so;

(vi) that the husband has been insane for a period of two (2) years or is suffering from leprosy or a virulent venereal disease;

(vii) that she, having been given in marriage by her father or other guardian before she attained the age of sixteen (16) years, repudiated the marriage before attaining the age of eighteen (18) years:

Provided that the marriage was not consummated;

(viii) that the husband treats her with cruelty (defined under the Act and includes verbal abuse, psychological ill-treatment, physical abuse, cheating, forcing her to lead an immoral life, disposing off of her property, obstructing her religious practise etc);

(ix) on any other ground which is recognized as valid for the dissolution of marriages under Muslim Law.

4. Procedure to obtain Khula:

(1) The wife may enforce her right of Khula if such right is relegated under the marriage contract (the “Nikkahnama”).

(2) If she is not delegated the right of divorce in her Nikahnama, then she could apply for Khula in the Court.

In filing a suit for dissolution of marriage, the Court issues notice to the opposite party i.e. the husband and if he fails to appear after the due process of posting and publication the Court can proceed with the case ex-parte (without him) and pass a decree (an order).

In case where the husband or his representative appear, he is required to file a written statement following which the Court has to fix a date for pre-trial proceedings for reconciliation. If reconciliation fails, the Court will pass decree for dissolution of marriage.

After obtaining Khula decree from the Court, the wife would need to file an application before the Chairman, Arbitration Council/Union Council of that jurisdiction for obtaining the certificate for the dissolution of marriage.

5. Filing of the divorce:

A divorce is filed where the marriage has taken place or where the marriage was registered; i.e. where the defendant is residing. The wife may also file a case at the place where she ordinarily resides.

Disclaimer: The above information is not legal advice but basic guidelines in respect of Khula in Pakistan. Each case is decided/evaluated/prepared in accordance with the individual/unique facts of the case. Nothing provided herein should be used as a substitute for advice of competent counsel.

______________________

Myra Khan Qureshi is a Barrister-at-Law from the Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn and Vice Chairperson Women Rights Committee of the Lahore High Court Bar Association. She is currently practicing law in Lahore, Pakistan.

Any queries may be directed to lawyereadia@gmail.com

Custody of Children under the laws of Pakistan

6 January 2014

I’m getting a divorce, what about my child?

I can fully support my child, how do I get custody?

I don’t want him seeing my baby anymore, is that possible?

She isn’t a good mother! How do I keep her away from my son?

(Answers provided hereinbelow)

The increasing statistics of divorce in Pakistan are often blamed on various socio-economic factors that have changed over the past few decades. Education, independence, exposure (specially access to the internet) and upbringing are all factors that appear to have had an effect on the choices that married couples make.

The discussion surrounding divorce, and the reasons/factors thereof, is unending. The important question is what happens after the end of a marriage, specially when children are involved.

The following post is to provide basic guidelines in respect of custody of children, a decision that often haunts most parents even beyond the decision they have to take for themselves.

1. The most important aspect for the courts in Pakistan, by and large, remains what would be the best interest and welfare of the child (see, Karisma Bibi vs. Additional District Judge Attock, 2009 YLR 1522).

2. Father: Under Islamic law, a father is the natural guardian (al waley) of his children’s persons and property. Section 359 of the Muhammadan Law provides:

359. Legal guardians of property- The following persons are entitled in the order mentioned below to be the guardians of the property of the minor:-

(1) the father;

(2) the executor appointed by the father’s will;

(3) the father’s father; and

(4) the executor appointed by the will of the father’s father.

As per the aforementioned, the legal guardianship of property of a minor is primarily vested in the father of the minor. The father may also appoint an executor to act as the guardian of the property of his infant child by will. According to Shari’a, a child’s paternal grandfather is his or her natural guardian after the father.

3. Mother: A mother, generally, has a right to physical, not legal, custody of her child until the child reaches the age of custodial transfer, at which time the child is returned to the physical custody of the father or the father’s family. Section 352 of the Muhammadan Law provides:

352. Right of mother to custody of infant children.- The mother is entitled to the custody of (hizanat) of her male child until he has completed the age of seven years and of her female child until she has attained puberty. The right continues though she is divorced by the father of the child, unless she marries a second husband in which case the custody belongs to the father.

4. The right to physical custody is not an absolute right in the sense that a mother or father who possesses physical custody may not prevent the other parent from seeing the child.

5. The father or mother seeking custody must have reached majority and must be sane. He or she must also be capable of raising the child, looking after its interests, and protecting its physical and moral interests. Aside from these basic requirements, there are specific requirements based on the welfare of a child (see, for information, Jamal J. Nasir, The Islamic Law of Personal Status (1990)).

Hope this information provides some guidance in trying times. It is, however, prudent to still consult (even if on a preliminary basis) a lawyer, experienced in family matters, in such cases.

Aggrieved parties (the persons seeking a divorce/custody or their families) often apprehend the reaction(s) of society, family, friend and other (uninvolved) third parties and refuse to seek professional help and assistance that a lawyer can provide. Such apprehensions cause irreparable damage and a consistent tug-of-war between the parties (and usually their families). For the best interests of the child (or children) and the parties, it is advisable to instead attempt to resolve all outstanding issues at the initial stages and prevent any recurring disputes to ensue.

Please note that lawyers and professional consultants are bound by a duty of confidentiality with their clients and are obligated to protect any disclosure / information received by them in the course of duty. You may re-iterate that in the meeting with your consultant (see, Muhammad Ahsan vs. Altaf Hussain, 2000 YLR 1102 (Karachi)).

The response to the frequently asked questions is as follows:

Q. I’m getting a divorce, what about my child?

A. You can file an application for the custody of your child. Courts are most inclined to decide in the best interest of the child depending on the facts of your case.

Q. I can fully support my child, how do I get custody?

A. The well-being of your child is by and large the most important aspect for the courts. Responding to the emotional, physical and social needs of the child give great anchor support to your application/case.

Q. I don’t want him seeing my baby anymore, is that possible?

A. A mother, generally, has a right to physical, not legal, custody of her child until the child reaches puberty after which the child is returned to the physical custody of the father or the father’s family. The above is standard practice unless the applicant can provide evidence to that court that the welfare of the child lay in his/her custody remaining with the mother (see, Karisma Bibi vs. Additional District Judge Attock, 2009 YLR 1522 Lahore).

She isn’t a good mother! How do I keep her away from my son?

A. The father is the natural guardian (al waley) of his children’s persons and property. Courts usually prefer the child remaining with the mother until puberty unless the same can be refuted by evidence to the contrary provided by the father.

Create your future from your future, not your past. – Werner Erhard

Disclaimer: The above information is not legal advice as legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. Nothing provided herein should be used as a substitute for advice of competent counsel.

______________________

Myra Khan Qureshi is a Barrister-at-Law from the Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn and Vice Chairperson Women Rights Committee of the Lahore High Court Bar Association. She is currently practicing law in Lahore, Pakistan.

Any queries may be directed to lawyereadia@gmail.com

How to use www.pakistanlawsite.com

3 January 2014

New entrants in the field of law often find themselves struggling with basic research tools. For the internet raised generation, http://www.pakistanlawsite.com (the “Law Site”) provides an easy, efficient and comprehensive first step to researching law, precedents, judgments, commentaries, articles etc.

Usually law firms and lawyers maintain an account with the Law Site (much like an email account) by making periodic payments for the permission to use the same.

To subscribe for a new account, you have to register on the website.
The details, payment terms and terms and conditions are provided on: http://www.pakistanlawsite.com/RegistrationHelp.asp

If there is already an account maintained then the user may insert the “username” and “password” and tick the box next to “I accept the terms and conditions” on the homepage to login to the website.

Once logged in, the left side of the Law Site offers “Case law Search”, “Advance Search”, “Statute Search”, “Courtwise Search”, “Citation Search” and “Article Search”.

1. Case Law Search
To search the relevant case law on a matter, click the tab “Case law Search” and insert the matter that you require case law on. For example, insert “ultra vires” in the search box and click enter.

The search engine will provide all those cases/judgments that have mentioned “ultra vires” in the document. To get an idea of the judgment read the “Case Notes”, however, it is standard and good practice to read the complete judgment before providing reference to the same.

If you know the particular Section of an Act/Ordinance or Rules or Regulations (the “Statute”), you may access the Statute and click on “Cases” under the relevant Section.

Access to Statutes is provided below.

2. To search for a Statute, click the tab “Statute Search”. The Statutes (Acts, Ordinances, Rules and Regulations) are provided alphabetically. However, if you are unsure about the name, you may search the statute by inserting the year in the search bar.

An easier way is however to type out the statute name (or as much as you know of it i.e. Contract Act Pakistan) in http://www.google.com and find out the correct/complete name of the same including the year. It is then easier to find it alphabetically on the Law Site.

Google also generally has the popular statutes however, the completeness and the authenticity of the same can not be verified. It is often safer to rely on the Law Site.

3. If you are aware of the citation of the case (i.e. PLD 2003 Karachi 1) then you may access the case notes of the judgment in “Citation Search”.

For beginners, the above three (3) provide the easiest and most effective research ability online.

Be sure to always confirm whether a judgment or statute is still valid and always provide the citation of the same.

Good luck!

______________________

Myra Khan Qureshi is a Barrister-at-Law from the Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn and Vice Chairperson Women Rights Committee of the Lahore High Court Bar Association. She is currently practicing law in Lahore, Pakistan.

Any queries may be directed to lawyereadia@gmail.com