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MARRIAGE: El Gamal v Al Maktoum [2011] EWHC

Date:19 MAR 2012

(Family Division; Bodey J; 21 December 2011)

Wife claimed an Islamic marriage ceremony took place in husband's flat and sought decree of nullity. The husband, a member of the Dubai royal family, denied it ever took place. Finding on balance of probability that it did take place. The husband did not attend the hearing to refute the mother's claims or summon witnesses in his staff who the wife claimed to have been present at the ceremony. The mother had mental health issues but for her to have dreamt or imagined a proposal and wedding 6 weeks later was a step too far. There was no written evidence of marriage taking place, despite some written evidence being required by Islamic courts nowadays. The wife would have known certain formalities were required for valid marriage ceremony in English law, expression of belief that ceremony would be valid, self serving. Wholesale failure to comply with formal requirements under Marriage Acts, not a void marriage under s 11 of MCA 1973 but a non-marriage.