The claimant sought a decree of divorce. The ceremony had been a religious one in Cape Town. They had intended it to be followed by a ceremony in a register office in England, but this did not happen. The pastor in south Africa said that he had warned them that in the absence of them signing the register there, no wedding would have taken place. It was not signed.
Held: The parties were not married despite the words of the service, and proclamation of the marriage at the end. Neither partner nor clergyman thought a wedding was taking place. The ceremony had failed to satisfy the local law requirements.
‘it is not . . either necessary or prudent to attempt in the abstract a definition or test of the circumstances in which a given event having marital characteristics should be held not to be a marriage. Questionable ceremonies should I think be addressed on a case by case basis, taking account of the various factors and features mentioned above including particularly, but not exhaustively: (a) whether the ceremony or event set out or purported to be a lawful marriage; (b) whether it bore all or enough of the hallmarks of marriage; (c) whether the three key participants (most especially the officiating official) believed, intended and understood the ceremony as giving rise to the status of lawful marriage; and (d) the reasonable perceptions, understandings and beliefs of those in attendance.’
 2 FLR 1129,  EWHC 1306 (Fam), Times 17-Jul-2009,  Fam Law 810,  3 FCR 401
Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, Family Law Act 1986 58(5)(a)
England and Wales
Cited – Neuman v Neuman 1926
The court considered the validity of a marriage created by a ceremony according to the Jewish faith. . .
Cited – Burns v Burns 2008
Cited – Gandhi v Patel and others ChD 31-Jul-2001
Cited – A-M v A-M (divorce: jurisdiction: validity of marriage) FD 2001
The parties had undergone a wedding ceremony under Islamic law, but not one which would constitute a marriage under UK law. H had been actively seeking to regularise the position as a matter of English law and had been advised that the parties . .
Cited – Kassim v Kassim 1962
In the case of a marriage void for bigamy the court had no jurisdiction to withold a decree of nullity. . .
Cited – Corbett v Corbett (otherwise Ashley) FD 1-Feb-1970
There had been a purported marriage in 1963 between a man and a male to female trans-sexual.
Held: Because marriage is essentially a union between a man and a woman, the relationship depended on sex, and not on gender. The law should adopt the . .
Cited – Galloway v Goldstein FD 16-Jan-2012
The claimant sought a declaration of marital status. They had undergone marriage ceremonies first in Connecticut and then in the UK. In the second ceremony they had declared that they had not previously been married. The US marriage had been . .
Cited – MA v JA (Attorney General intervening) FD 27-Jul-2012
The parties had gone through a marriage ceremony, but not having given the required notice to the registrar, no marriage certificate had been issued. They now sought a declaration that the marriage was valid.
Held: The declaration was granted. . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.347354