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The Law Relating to Affinity after B and L v UK

Date:22 NOV 2005

Dr Ruth Gaffney-Rhys, Newport Business School, University of Wales. In September 2005 the European Court of Human Rights ruled on the legality of the various provisions of the Marriage Act 1949 (as amended by the Marriage (Prohibited Degrees of Relationship) Act 1986), which restrict the right of persons related through marriage (affinity) to marry one another in B and L v United Kingdom (Application No 36536/02) [2006] FLR (forthcoming). Dr Ruth Gaffney-Rhys looks at the possible justifications for the restriction on marriage between parents-in-law and children-in-law and suggests that the law does not actually achieve any of these aims. In the light of the decision of the European Court of Human Rights the UK Government will be required to consider reforming the law relating to prohibited degrees of relationship. The author gives examples of countries where the law on marriages based on affinity have been reformed and cites articles for readers to consider. See December [2005] Fam Law 955 for the full article.

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