Professor Rebecca Probert, Professor of Law, University of Exeter
Key words: marriage - preliminaries - approved premises - prescribed words - registration - celebrants
The full version of this article will appear in Child and Family Law Quarterly, Vol 30, No 3. Find out more or request a free 1-week trial of Child and Family Law Quarterly. Please quote: 100482.
As the Law Commission pointed out in 2015, the current rules regulating marriage are outdated, unduly complex, often uncertain, and widely perceived as unfair. This article takes up the challenge it posed: that of providing greater choice while at the same time simplifying the existing rules. Rather than arguing for a wholesale change in the law, or the transplant of solutions adopted elsewhere, it instead shows how these aims could be achieved within the current framework. Analysing each element of the process of getting married in turn, it identifies where there is common ground between the existing routes into marriage and where relatively small changes could bring about consistency. Where there are differences that cannot be reconciled, it investigates whether there is a need for that particular requirement. Paring down the existing legal requirements to those common to all would make it easier to accommodate new types of marriage ceremony and religious diversity.
This article has been accepted for publication in Child and Family Law Quarterly in Issue 3, Vol 30, Year 2018. The final published version of this article will be published and made publicly available here 24 months after its publication date, under a CC-BY-NC licence.