Inconvenient Marriages, or What Happens When Ethnic Minorities Marry Trans-Jurisdictionally
16 Pages Posted: 17 Jun 2010
Date Written: June 2010
This article presents evidence of a trend in the practice of British immigration control of denying recognition to marriages which take place trans-jurisdictionally across national and continental boundaries and across different state jurisdictions. The article partly draws on evidence gleaned from the writer’s own experience of being instructed as an expert witness to provide opinions of the validity of such marriages, and partly on evidence from reported cases at different levels of the judicial system. The evidence demonstrates that decision making in this area, whether by officials or judges, often takes place in arbitrary ways, arguably to fulfil wider aims of controlling the immigration of certain population groups whose presence in the UK and Europe is increasingly seen as undesirable. However, and quite apart from the immigration control concerns underlying such actions, the field throws up evidence of the kinds of legal insecurity faced by those whose marriages are solemnized under non-Western legal traditions and calls into question respect for those traditions when they come into contact with Western officialdom.
Keywords: trans-jurisdictional marriages, transnational law, private international law, conflict of laws, immigration law, Islamic law, marriages, ethnic minorities, cultural diversity, expert witnesses
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