W sought permission to seek financial relief under section 13. H denied that there had been a marriage. There had been a civil ceremony at the Moroccan consulate, the parties each having dual Moroccan and British citizenship, and: ‘the issue is whether what judges have recently labelled or characterised as a ‘non-marriage’ under English law, so as to be outside the scope of an English suit for matrimonial relief under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, can nevertheless amount to a ‘marriage’ for the purpose of financial relief under Part III of the 1984 Act.’
Held: It could not.
Holman J said: ‘Despite all these points and considerations, however, I have reached the firm view, submitted not only on behalf of the husband but also by counsel on behalf of the intervening Attorney-General, that the word ‘marriage’ in s 12 and Part III generally of the MFPA must mean, and can only mean, a marriage which is, or under English law is recognised as, a valid or at least a void marriage. That is the natural meaning and scope of the word ‘marriage’ when used in this context. Far from needing to use words of limitation or exclusion to limit ‘marriage’ to a valid or void marriage, Parliament would have needed to use express words of inclusion if it had intended to enlarge and include within the word ‘marriage’ even what is characterised here as a non-marriage. That is particularly so in the case of a marriage which was actually contracted in England. If the marriage relied upon is a ceremony which took place here but which was so irregular and altogether outside the scope of the Marriage Acts as not to be a marriage at all, not even a void one, then in my view it would require clear words from Parliament before it could fall within the scope of s 12 and Part III [of the 1984 Act].’
 EWHC 1748 (Fam)
Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984 13
England and Wales
Approved – Sharbatly v Shagroon CA 21-Nov-2012
Cited – Her Majesty’s Attorney General v Akhter and Another CA 14-Feb-2020
Islamic Nikah Ceremony did not create a marriage
The parties had undertaken, in 1998, an Islamic marriage ceremony, a Nikah. They both knew at the time that to be effective in UK law, there would need to be a civil ceremony, and intended but did not achieve one. The parties having settled their . .
These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 31 March 2021; Ref: scu.460520