Friday, 28 February 2014

Prosecution in Australia of Unregistered Muslim Marriage

The issue of unregistered Muslim Marriages is something I have Blogged on in the past see where I give links to my other Blogs on this subject.

I have consistently said that in my view those who perform unregistered Muslim Marriages should be prosecuted under s75 of the Marriage Act 1949 which makes it a criminal offence to solemnise a Marriage in England and Wales otherwise than in accordance with the Act.

There is a similar, though rather more straightforwardly worded provision in s101 of the Australian Marriage Act 1961.  

In Australia it has been reported  that an Imam is to face trial for conducting an unregistered Marriage though in that case the alleged criminality is aggravated by the fact that the "Bride" is reported to have been 12 at the time.

It will be interesting to watch this case and see if it might inspire the English Police to start to enforce our  Marriage Act in the same way as the Australian Police are enforcing theirs


Paul de Mello Jnr said...

This UK mosque-marriage case relates to what you said, and came up during "Quadruple lock" debates, as Attorney General lost:

Andrew T said...

I think Moylan was wrong, and in any event the real problem is that in most cases the "marriage" takes place in an unregistered building and there is no possible argument tat it complies with the Act - what you then have is a non-marriage, not even a void marriage. No rights flow from it.

Which is as it should be. Marriage is a public and formal act which is evidenced by the issue of a certificate in a common form which is familiar to all who need to see it.

It is not a question of Muslims (or others; but mainly Muslims) not "registering" their marriages. What happens before the Registrar is not the registration of the marriage; it IS the marriage. If it happens first and then the nikah does not (if for example one of them unfortunately dies or simply refuses) there is still am arriage for all purposes including inheritance. If the nikah happens forist and then there is no civil ceremony the parties have not failed to register their marriage - they have not married.

There is a lot to be said for insisting that all marriages be civil and before the Registrar, with a religious ceremony as bolt-on extra - but it should be criminal to celebrate it except on sight of the civil certificate/