Court of Appeal rules that Islamic faith marriages are not valid in English law

Family in a park discussing the future as a family

Islamic faith marriages are not valid under English law, the Court of Appeal has ruled and as a result thousands of Muslim women will have no rights when it comes to divorce.

The appeal court recently ruled that an Islamic marriage known as a nikah are legally “non-marriages,” which means that spouses have no redress to the courts for a division of matrimonial assets, such as the matrimonial home and the spouse’s pension if the marriage breaks down.

The appeal court ruled that a nikah marriage is a void marriage as it is entered into without certain requirements as to the formation of marriage.

Many couples who have “married” through a nikah ceremony believe that they are lawfully married.  However, their marriages are only lawful if they have undergone an additional separate civil ceremony.

Keith Bull Head of the Family Law department of Bromleys Solicitors LLP advises that “The women who have only undergone a nikah ceremony will have no rights to assets in the husband’s sole name, including his pension and no right to spousal maintenance.”

Keith recommends that Muslim couples undergo a separate civil ceremony usually through a local Registry Office, as well as the nikah religious ceremony, to give Muslim women protection and redress for full financial claims in the event of the marriage breaking down under the English law.

How we can help?

Keith is an Accredited Family Law Specialist on the Resolution Panel, as well as an Assessor for the panel. He has over thirty years of experience in family law and can be contacted on 0161 330 6821 for a free 30-minute initial consultation.