Thursday, 17 May 2012

There is such a thing as common law marriage!

I give a Michael Caine "not many people know that" award to James Turner QC, who posted on a recent linkedin discussion I started (you can view it here: cohabitation cases) and confounded me with something I genuinely didn't know - there are actually legally valid marriages which are not compliant with the Marriage Act or are recognised foreign marriages.  Nope, I never knew that.

However, don't get too excited about this.  It is no help at all for those who simply live together in England and Wales.  It's one of those very rare specimens which is designed for exceptional cases.

" It relates to a marriage that has taken place..."

In other words, there is something more than just living together.  There has to be some event which signifies that a marriage has taken place.

"that has taken place otherwise than in accordance with the requirements of the lex loci celebrationis..."

But whatever marriage there was doesn't comply with the law relating to marriages in the place where occurred.

" in circumstances where it would offend public policy to require compliance with the relevant local law..."

This isn't clear until you consider the example given - two people getting married in a concentration camp.  It would be outrageous to say that if you didn't go the register office, you couldn't be married, in those circumstances!

Now all of this may sound pretty academic here in the UK.  In the rest of the world, however, it may be far from esoteric.  In some jurisdictions, marriage between people of different religions or ethnic groups are or have been forbidden.  If such a couple reaches this country - seeking asylum, for example - it is entirely right that English law should recognise their marriage.  So it does.  However, where there is nothing to prevent a couple from marrying in their own country or circumstances but they just don't do so, English law treats them as being unmarried, and why not?


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3 comments:

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  2. You're more than welcome to comment on my blog. However, naked promotion of your own services without any real relevance to the subject matter of the blog is taking the mick and will be deleted. And just has been.

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  3. nice posting.. thanks for sharing..

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