Main Article Content

Mary Welstead


I begin with a story because, in reality, most law, and particularly family law, is about stories, stories of human encounters. My story is about a 16-year-old Muslim girl, let me call her Jamila (not, of course, her real name) who was born in England, and lived with her parents who originated from a small village in Asia. The family lived a very traditional life in England, alongside other families from a similar cultural background. Jamila’s parents did not wish her to be contaminated by English values which seemed so far removed from their own.  Jamila’s father was concerned that his daughter had suddenly started to wet the bed at night. He took her to see an English male doctor whose surgery was close to their home in Birmingham. Jamila arrived for her appointment, beautifully dressed in a traditional salwaar kameez made of silk and chiffon. Her father wished to remain with his daughter during the consultation with the doctor.  However, the doctor insisted that he respect the confidentiality between doctor and patient, an accepted essential in England, and told the father that Jamila must be allowed to speak to him on her own. The father reluctantly capitulated. 

Article Details