UK High Court rules Islamic marriage covered by English law

Justice Williams ruled that the marriage falls within the scope of the UK's 1973 Matrimonial Causes Act.

Published: 01st August 2018 09:04 PM  |   Last Updated: 01st August 2018 09:04 PM   |  A+A-

wedding, marriage, hand holding, hands

Representational image.


LONDON: The UK High Court today ruled that an Islamic faith marriage does fall within the purview of English matrimonial law as it granted a woman a decree to nullify her bond with her estranged husband.

The Pakistani-origin couple, Nasreen Akhter and Mohammed Shabaz Khan - both 46, had got married in an Islamic wedding ceremony under Sharia law in a restaurant in Southall, west London, in 1998.

The nikaah ceremony had been conducted by an imam before hundreds of guests.

Akhter, a solicitor, wanted to divorce her businessman husband Khan, who had blocked her application on the basis that they are not legally married under English law but only under Sharia law.

Justice Williams ruled that the marriage falls within the scope of the UK's 1973 Matrimonial Causes Act.

He, however, noted that the marriage was "entered into in disregard of certain requirements as to the formation of marriage" and is therefore "void", which means Akhter is entitled to a "decree of nullity".

"I conclude that this marriage falls within the scope of Section 11 and was a marriage entered into in disregard of certain requirements as to the formation of marriage.

It is, therefore, a void marriage and the wife is entitled to a decree of nullity," Justice Williams notes in his judgment.

Barrister Paula Rhone-Adrien, who led Khan's legal team, had told the court during the trial earlier in the year that the case could have implications for people of a number of faiths.

"If the High Court decides that the parties were married, then that means potentially all Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs could seek for their religious ceremonies to be recognised as legally binding," she had said.

The judge analysed the dispute presented at the Family Division of the High Court in London and announced his decision in a written ruling this week.

Earlier this year, as part of a UK government review into Sharia law, a panel of experts comprising academics and lawyers had concluded that Muslim couples should be required to undergo civil marriages in addition to Muslim ceremonies to bring Islamic marriage legally in line with other faith marriages.



Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

  • Pauline Garside

    Now, we need the law in the UK to state that no-one can have more than one spouse at one time. That would mean equality for everybody in the country.
    2 years ago reply
flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp