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Sharia Law Deemed Not Enough

Marriage Deemed not enough to secure legal rights in UK on divorce

Sharia Law

The Court of Appeal has ruled that an Islamic marriage under Sharia law was not a valid legal marriage in the UK.

The parties had an Islamic marriage ceremony in a restaurant in front of an Imam and 150 guests.

They went on to have 4 children.

Although the couple talked about having an English civil ceremony they never in fact did so and separated after 18 years.

The couple held themselves out to be husband and wife, and their vows were similar to English vows. On this basis the High Court found them to be married under English law.

The Court of Appeal disagreed.

There had been no registrar, no certificate and the building was not registered for weddings. The marriage was deemed invalid. This denied the wife access to the sort of financial provision she could have expected to receive under English law.

The law in relation to this is unlikely to change any time soon. In 2017 the government stated that Muslim couples should have an English civil ceremony as well as a religious ceremony to bring Islamic marriage into line with other faiths.

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