“Cohabitation, cohabitation, cohabitation”: Smith

The rights of cohabiting couples – or the lack of them – have been in the news for the last week or so. In her recent Times interview (£), as well as calling for no-fault divorce in England and Wales Lady Hale voiced support for new legal rights for unmarried couples. The number of unmarried couples living together has more than doubled in recent years, from 1.5 million in 1996 to 3.3 million in 2017; and on Monday, Resolution, formerly known as the Solicitors Family Law Association, published the results of a ComRes survey which found that:  Continue reading

A prenup for Harry and Meghan?

Should Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have a prenup?

Dr Sharon Thompson, Senior Lecturer in Law at Cardiff University, has kindly written this timely post on the possibility of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle entering into a prenuptial agreement. Sharon is the author of the acclaimed book Prenuptial Agreements and the Presumption of Free Choice.

Almost as soon as actress Meghan Markle’s engagement to Prince Harry was announced, The Times published advice from English family lawyers suggesting the couple sign a prenup. ‘It is absolutely vital’, one interviewee said, because ‘there will always be concerns that in case of any future divorce, royal assets could end up being lost’.

However, this view must be treated with caution. I will explain why by addressing the arguments put forward in The Times article and by drawing on research from my book Prenuptial Agreements and the Presumption of Free Choice (Thompson 2015). Continue reading

EU recognition of sharia divorce decrees: Sahyouni

Advocate General Henrik Saugmandsgaard Øe has issued his Opinion on a request for a preliminary ruling from the Oberlandesgericht München (Higher Regional Court of Munich) on the interpretation of Council Regulation (EU) No 1259/2010 of 20 December 2010 implementing enhanced cooperation in the scope of the law applicable to divorce and legal separation. The case concerns recognition in Germany of a divorce decision adopted by a religious body in Syria [1 & 2]. Continue reading

High Court of NI refuses to review absence of same-sex marriage

The High Court in Belfast has dismissed two cases challenging Northern Ireland’s ban on same-sex marriage. According to media reports, O’Hara J said that it was for the Northern Ireland Assembly rather than for the judiciary to decide social policy: Continue reading

Is a foreign polygamous marriage valid in Ireland? HAH v SAA & Ors

We tend not to encroach into Ireland, but we thought it worth reporting a recent case on the status in Irish law of a polygamous marriage contracted validly in Lebanon.

The background

HAH, the husband, was a recognised refugee and naturalised Irish citizen who had contracted marriages with two women in Lebanon in accordance with Lebanese law. Continue reading

Newsflash: NI Court of Appeal allows humanist wedding to proceed

The Northern Ireland Court of Appeal has granted interim authority for the humanist wedding of Laura Smyth, alias Lacole, and  Eunan O’Kane to proceed this week and be given legal recognition. Continue reading