Changes to Wedding Laws

Sep 21, 2020

The Law Commission has published Getting Married: A Consultation Paper on Weddings Law. In the Consultation Paper, they make provisional proposals for a comprehensive new legislative scheme to replace the outdated, overly-restrictive current law of weddings, much of which dates from 1836. They ask questions for consultees on each aspect of the law governing how and where couples can get married in England and Wales, from giving notice, to the location and content of the ceremony, the people who must attend, and how marriages are registered. Their proposals aim to give couples greater choice within a simple, fair and consistent legal structure, so that people can have a wedding that is meaningful to them. Their review also considers the consequences for the validity of weddings when any of the legal requirements are not met.

Alongside the Consultation Paper, available here, they have published a shorter summary document, here, and an at-a-glance overview, here.

The publication of the Consultation Paper marks the opening of a period of public consultation, which will last until 3 December 2020. Written submissions to their consultation can be sent to them using the online response form. Where possible, it would be helpful if this form was used. Alternatively, comments may be sent:

  • by email to weddings@lawcommission.gov.uk; or
  • by post to Weddings Team, Law Commission, 1st Floor, 52 Queen Anne’s Gate, London, SW1H 9AG. (If you send your comments by post, it would be helpful if, whenever possible, you could also send them electronically.)

They are keen to hear the full range of views, and would welcome submissions answering as many or as few questions as you like.

More information about their project can be found on their website, here. Updates about consultation events will be published on their website in the coming weeks.

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