An Islamic council which mediates on Muslim marriages has defended itself after a member of staff was secretly filmed telling a woman complaining of domestic violence to only go to the police as a "last resort".

The Islamic Sharia Council, in Francis Road, Leyton, was investigated by the BBC's Panorama documentary series this week following allegations it was ruling on cases it had no legal authority to get involved in.

Sharia partnerships are not recognised under UK law as marriages and are often obtained by couples in addition to civil marriages.

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