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Give couples more freedom to choose where they marry, Law Commission proposes

Law Commission launches consultation on marriage law reform

As the experience of couples wanting to get married during the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated, the laws governing how and where couples can marry are outdated and unnecessarily restrictive. So says the Law Commission which has launched a consultation into marriage laws.

The Law Commission is consulting on proposals to modernise those laws, giving couples greater freedom over where they hold their weddings and the form the ceremony will take. The proposals could allow couples to choose to have weddings outdoors or in private family homes, and to have simpler, less expensive weddings. The Law Commission says that the proposals will bring the process into the 21st century and allow the law to recognise the diverse ways that couples in England and Wales wish to celebrate their weddings.

In the view of the Law Commission, the laws governing weddings, originally formed in 1836, are not fit for purpose as they are no longer meeting the needs of many couples. It cites as examples:

Proposals for reform
To modernise and improve wedding law, the proposed changes would:

The Law Commission will be consulting on the proposals until 3 December 2020. Once the consultation period closes, the Law Commission will analyse the responses, and use them to help develop recommendations. We are aiming to publish the final report, with these recommendations in the second half of 2021.

For more details, click here.