I am interested to see how the court deals with enforcement of an oral 'mahr' or Islamic dowry, agreed between the parents of the bride before the marriage. Currently enforcement options where the mahr is unpaid are via the family courts, where it is taken into consideration as one of the 'circumstances of the case' during divorce proceedings, or via the county court as a breach of contract.
A landmark judgment that could bring part of UK law into line with sharia law’s position on “bride price” payments is to be announced this week in the central London county court. A bride price – or mahr – is one of the important aspects of an Islamic marriage contract. It is a gift, or a promise of a gift, to the wife by the husband. It is agreed between the parents or guardians of the bride and the groom verbally or in writing shortly before marriage. Under sharia law, the wife has the right to ask for her full mahr at any time during her marriage or upon its dissolution. South Asian women married under UK civil law, however, are currently unable to demand its payment in full on divorce.