Lovells changes Muslim law on loans

Solicitors from Lovells have obtained a ruling that will allow young Muslims in the UK to accept loans from the Prince’s Trust under Shariah law.

The firm did the work pro bono, with pro bono co-ordinator Yasmin Waljee and Islamic banking partner Shibeer Ahmed leading the team.

The Prince’s Trust provides start-up loans to young entrepreneurs. However, many Muslims have not applied to the charity because according to Shariah law, organisations are not allowed to charge interest on a loan.

The Prince’s Trust typically charges lenders between 3 and 4 per cent interest on every loan.

Lovells sought advice from leading Shariah scholar Sheikh Nizam Yaquby, who ruled that the small amount of interest on the Trust loans should be regarded as an ‘administration charge’, therefore not conflicting with Shariah rulings. Yaquby added: “The amounts charged by the Prince’s Trust for business loans granted by it do not even cover the total annual direct costs of administrating the business loans scheme.” Lovells also managed to persuade the Muslim Council of Great Britain to accept the Prince’s Trust loans under Shariah law.