Sharia law

Marriage ceremonies celebrated by any religion in the UK other than the Church of England, Roman Catholics, Jews and Quakers are not legally recognised, unless the building in which the ceremony occurs is registered for the solemnisation of marriage.

While no precise data is available, Islamic marriages are frequently conducted outside mosques at venues such as hotels or a private home and evidence suggests that many of the couples involved do not have before their Islamic marriage, or follow this up with, a civil marriage to register their marriage legally.

While these couples may consider themselves married, they are not legally defined as such in English law and their marriage would not be recognised in an English court. However, a the marriage of a couple in an Islamic ceremony outside the UK is recognised in England, providing the couple marry in accordance with the form required by law of the country of the marriage ceremony.

Where an Islamic marriage is not recognised in this country, it will have a significant impact on a couple in relation to the legitimacy of children, wills, inheritance tax and financial claims on a separation and divorce.

If legal proceedings are taken, these will inevitably be more complex, as they are treated as cohabitees and their financial affairs will be dealt with through various legal actions instead of in one case.

With asset protection issues clearly an issue in these circumstances, we can provide expert advice to clarify individuals’ position and on appropriate steps to protect wealth and assets.

Our family lawyers are top ranked in the legal directories Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners and are highly commended for client service in Chambers & Partners.

They are accredited specialists in complex business and property cases, in European and International Family Law, cohabitation and pensions, and are trained as collaborative lawyers and mediators. They are also fellows of the International Academy of Lawyers, giving access to expert family lawyers across the world.

All our legal team are also members of Resolution, the national organisation of family lawyers.

For more information, please contact us.