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Sir James Munby, President of the Family Division: Marriage from the 18th to 21st Century

Date:8 MAY 2013
Formerly President of the Family Division

The Incorporated Council of Law Reporting Annual Lecture for 2013
given by Sir James Munby President of the Family Division

on 25 April 2013 at the Law Society

From the very earliest days of the Council's activities - it appears on page 133 of the first volume of the Council's Divorce reports - comes what can probably lay claim to being a passage more familiar to the non-lawyer than almost any other to be found in a law report. It forms part of every marriage ceremony performed in a Register Office. It appears framed on the wall of most Register Offices. I refer of course to the famous statement in Hyde v Hyde by Sir James Wilde (better know to posterity as Lord Penzance1):

"marriage as understood in Christendom" - this is replaced in modern official usage by a reference to the law of England - "may ... be defined as the voluntary union for life of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others."2

Thus what the...

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