People Innovation Excellence



Wednesday 13 December 2023, Stijn van Huis, lecturer of Business Law BINUS, participated as member of the examination committee in the defense of Al Farabi, PhD student at Van Vollenhoven Institute, Leiden Law School.

The dissertation of Al Farabi discusses marriage and divorce practices in Mukomuko (Bengkulu) at three different levels: everyday practices at societal level; relevant cases available in the first instance Islamic courts of Arga Makmur and Mukomuko; and landmark decisions and developments within the Islamic Chamber of the Indonesian Supreme Court. Al Farabi argues that Mukomuko’s adat, which is “matrilineally-inclined” in nature, and its institutional actors (the adat assembly) have persisted, even though marriage and divorce practices are now increasingly influenced by the state norms of the Compilation of Islamic Law.

The question posed by Stijn van Huis concerned the concept of “legal differentiation” a concept that allows for different groups to be treated differently by the legal system, in order to do justice. An example of legal differentiation is that juveniles are treated differently than adults in the criminal law system. Al Farabi pleas for legal differentiation in the field of Muslim family law in Indonesia, allowing judges of religious courts to consider adat law (in this case matrilineal law) in their decisions. Stijn van Huis asked whether the candidate could see risks to greater autonomy (discretion) for judges to consider adat norms also in view that in certain communities wives and daughters have less rights in marriage and divorce under adat law than under the Compilation of Islamic Law. Al Farabi explained that legal differentiation is not the same as the full application of adat law, and that the objective must be to increase justice, including gender justice. While Al Farabi acknowledged that legal differentiation may lead to less consistency, he argues that the judgments of the religious courts will gain in legitimacy if the local adat context is taken into consideration in their judgments.

Dr Al Farabi successfully defended his dissertation and received his “bul” (PhD certificate from Prof. Kaptein, chair of the PhD examination committee. […]

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