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14th April 2010: Lecture at the Arab-British Chamber of Commerce

‘The Law Does Not Protect Fools – Or Does It?’
by Mr. Ali Almihdar

The Law does not protect fools. This expression is a literal translation of the Arabic words:

"القانون لا يحمي المغفلين"

These words supposedly encapsulate the rule that if a party to a contractual or other relationship is outsmarted by the other party, then the victim is not entitled to the protection of the law. Thus, if the stronger party to the relationship, by virtue of his superior resources of wealth, power or legal advice, takes advantage of the weaker party, then he can rely on the law to support him to the detriment of the weaker party. The implication therefore is that the weaker party, in spite, or because of his inferior position, deserves what is coming to him.

This rule, of obscure origins, was in circulation amongst lawyers practising positive Arab law during the last century. Its approximate equivalent at Common Law is Caveat Emptor, or Let the Buyer Beware. The rule has no equivalent under the Shariah, which aims to achieve justice by regulating the behavior of the stronger, rather than the weaker party   

So, which legal system, affords what protection, to whom? That is the question!