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A Local Authority v X & Anor (Children) [2013] EWHC 3274 (Fam)

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LA seeking a declaration of non-recognition of a marriage which had taken place in Pakistan against the will of the girl, who was 14 at the time and soon after became pregnant.

  • In brief: "X" had been born in England in 1997. Her parents had immigrated to England from Pakistan some 40 years before. In 2011, aged 14, X travelled with her father and brother to Pakistan where, under duress, she underwent a marriage ceremony. The marriage was consummated and X became pregnant. She returned to England and the baby was born in autumn 2012. The local authority commenced care proceedings in relation to X and her baby. 

    Within the care proceedings, the local authority sought a declaration of non-recognition of the marriage in Pakistan. The court found that as X was domiciled in England at the time of the marriage, the validity of the marriage was governed by the Marriage Act 1949. As the Marriage Act 1949 states that a marriage between persons either of whom is under 16 shall be void, the marriage was found to be void. 

    Therefore, Mr Justice Holman confirmed that in the event X chose to present a petition, the court could pronounce a decree of nullity on the ground that the marriage was void. However, having regard to s. 58(5) Family Law Act 1986 which places a statutory bar on any court declaring a marriage void at its inception, the court refused to grant the declaration sought by the local authority.

    Read the full text of the judgment here


Published: 14/01/2014

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