The Islamic kafala system does not equate to adoption under EU law and therefore does not carry the same rights, a top EU court adviser argued on Tuesday.
The Islamic form of “adoption’’ is called kafala, which literally means sponsorship, however, comes from the root word meaning “to feed.’’
Kafala, or legal fostering, is the promise to undertake without payment the upkeep, education and protection of a minor, in the same way as a father would do for his son.
The decision was contested before Britain’s Supreme Court, which turned to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for help in interpreting EU law.
Advocate General Manuel Campos Sanchez-Bordona argued that a child that is merely under legal guardianship of an EU citizen cannot be classed as a “direct descendant.”
He noted, among other things, that kafala is a form of temporary guardianship and is revocable.
“It does not equate to adoption, which is forbidden under Algerian law,’’ the court adviser added.
Nonetheless, he argued that in such situations, member states should treat the child as an “other family member” and facilitate their entry and residence in that country, with a view to protecting family life and defending the child’s best interests.
Campos Sanchez-Bordona is one of 11 advocates general who provides legal opinions to the ECJ.
The judges generally follow their advice, while the verdict will follow at a later date.