First the Archbishop was invited to give the foundation lecture at The Royal Courts of Justice.
Second A Press Release dated 7 February 2008 (before the event) indicated that: his lecture was going to:look at 'what space can be allowed alongside the secular law of the land for the legal provisions of faith groups.' In other words, this was the subject on which the Archbishop was asked to speak.
The Archbishop denies that he is calling for the institution of Sharia law:
The Archbishop made no proposals for sharia in either the lecture or the interview, and certainly did not call for its introduction as some kind of parallel jurisdiction to the civil law.The Archbishop of Canturbury did not issue a statement 'out of the blue' promoting the institution of Sharia Law in the UK. He is not promoting the implentation of sharia law by the UK government. Those tabloid rags that are claiming that he did are engaging in irresponsible journalism. As Christians, we are guided by the commandment not to bear false witness; it's not rocket science to understand that twisting someone's words is wrong by Christian standards. The Sun should be especially ashamed for it's 'Bash the Bishop' campaign (I'm not providing a link as they don't deserve one).
Instead, in the interview, rather than proposing a parallel system of law, he observed that "as a matter of fact certain provisions of sharia are already recognised in our society and under our law" . When the question was put to him that: "the application of sharia in certain circumstances - if we want to achieve this cohesion and take seriously peoples' religion - seems unavoidable?", he indicated his assent.