An Australian family lawyer has spoken out against the use of Sharia law in Australian divorce cases, calling it “bad for women”.

Family lawyer James Antonenas, who works in Bankstown in Sydney’s southwest and regularly acts for Muslim clients, said women often fared second-best under sharia divorce law. He said in his experience many Muslim women accepted whatever was determined by their husband or sheik and were not prepared to fight for their legal rights.

“The outcome usually is that the husband retains the majority of the matrimonial assets . . . and the wife and kids are often left to depend on public housing and Centrelink payments,” he said.