A High Court judge has ruled that an estranged couple’s Islamic faith marriage falls within the scope of English matrimonial principle.
Nasreen Akhter and Mohammed Shabaz Khan harboured an Islamic wedding ceremony in a west London restaurant in 1998.
Mr Khan wanted to stymie a divorce application on the basis that they are not legally married under English law.
But Mrs Akhter, 46, said the Islamic faith marriage constituted a valid wedlock under English law.
Mr Justice Williams analysed the couple’s disagreement at a recent trial in the Family Division of the Supreme court in London and has announced his decision in a written verdict.
He ruled that the wedding falls within the scope of the 1973 Matrimonial Causes Act, despite Mr Khan, 46, quarrelling the matrimony was “under Sharia law only”.
The judge decided that the matrimony was “entered into in indifference of certain requirements as to the formation of marriage”.
He said the marriage was therefore “void” and Mrs Akhter is entitled to a decree of nullity.
Barrister Paula Rhone-Adrien, who led Mr Khan’s law crew, had told the judge that the speciman could have implications for parties of a number of religions.
An experts’ review into the application of Sharia law was published in February after being commissioned by the Home office.
Prime Minister Theresa May had asked for a review when she was Home Secretary.
She wanted to explore whether Sharia law was being applied in a way that was incompatible with domestic legislation.
A panel of experts, which included an academic and solicitors, read Muslim pairs should be required to undergo civil marriages in addition to Muslim ceremonies to create Islamic marriage legally into line with Christian and Jewish marriage.