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Family Law

The leading authority on all aspects of family law

16 SEP 2011

Marrying an in-law? The future of prohibited degrees of affinity and consanguinity in English law [2008] CFLQ 219

The Marriage Act 1949 (Remedial) Order 2007 recently abolished the long-standing bar to marriages between former parents- and children-in-law. While the abolition of this restriction appears to provide an adequate response to the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in B and L v United Kingdom, it casts doubt on the coherence of the remaining prohibited degrees of consanguinity and affinity in English law. This article examines these restrictions on access to marriage in light of B and L and the earlier Strasbourg jurisprudence on Article 12 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms 1950. It argues that B and L develops what appears to be a new strand of reasoning: namely, that a restriction on access to marriage pursuant to a legitimate aim may nevertheless be inconsistent with Article 12 if its rationality and logic can be attacked.

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