(Family Division, Francis J, 24 November 2016)
Marriage and divorce – Nullity – Islamic ceremony – Respondent still married at time of marriage ceremony – Whether the petitioner was entitled to a decree of nullity
The court held that the woman was entitled to a decree of nullity.
The petitioner was 61 and had been married in Pakistan but that marriage was terminated by Talaq in 1994. The respondent was married in 1964 and that marriage had not been terminated.
In 1999 the parties took part in a marriage ceremony at a Mosque in 1999. The respondent contended that the petitioner knew he was still married at that point. She denied this.
Thereafter the petitioner was informed that the Talaq in respect of her first marriage had not been registered. She subsequently obtained a decree of Khula in Pakistan. The respondent initiated proceedings for jactitation of his first marriage but abandoned them before their conclusion.
The petitioner claimed that in 2003 the parties entered into an Islamic marriage via telephone with an Iman in Pakistan. A formal ceremony followed later that month and the petitioner asserted that a marriage deed was drawn up. The respondent denied that either event had occurred.Francis J held that the petitioner was entitled to a decree of nullity and preferred her evidence as to the parties’ intention and belief that the ceremony in 2003 would produce a valid ceremony of marriage.