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Marital problems: the Law Commission’s ‘Getting Married’ consultation paper and non-qualifying wedding ceremonies

Sandberg, Russell ORCID: 2021. Marital problems: the Law Commission’s ‘Getting Married’ consultation paper and non-qualifying wedding ceremonies. Ecclesiastical Law Journal 23 (2) , pp. 140-159. 10.1017/S0956618X2100003X

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This article explores the Law Commission’s proposals on how and where people can get married in England and Wales as found in their ‘Getting Married’ Consultation Paper. It examines the extent to which the Law Commission’s proposals will deal with or mitigate concerns expressed about two types of non-qualifying wedding ceremonies: ‘unregistered religious marriages’ where the couple undergo a religious ceremony that does not comply with the requirements of the Marriage Act 1949 and ‘non-religious marriages’ where the ceremony is conducted by celebrants representing a belief organisation (such as Humanists UK) or by independent celebrants and so is also outside the Marriage Act 1949 and not currently legally binding. The article largely welcomes the Law Commission’s proposals but expresses concern about (1) the proposed officiant system and how it defines belief organisation; (2) the proposed changes to the law on validity; and (3) the creation of a new criminal offence. The article develops further these three points and contends that while a transformed weddings law could recognise non-religious marriages and reduce the number of unregistered religious marriages, but that the introduction of statutory cohabitation rights upon separation is needed to truly deal with concerns over unregistered religious marriages.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Law
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press (CUP)
ISSN: 0956-618X
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 22 February 2021
Date of Acceptance: 18 February 2021
Last Modified: 10 Nov 2022 05:11

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