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(Queen's Bench Division; Silber J; 10 April 2006)
The statutory regime which required people subject to immigration control to request permission before they could undergo any non-Anglican form of marriage (at a cost of £135) contravened Arts 12 and 14 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms 1950, guaranteeing the right to marry, and the right not to be discriminated against for reasons of religion or nationality. While it was legitimate to introduce legislation to prevent sham marriages, the measures in this regime were not rationally connected to the objective of preventing sham marriages, not only because Anglican marriages were exempt from the need to obtain the certificate of permission, but also because the regime contained an almost inflexible rule that there was not to be any consideration of the merits of an application, the success of such an application depending on the immigration status of the applicant.
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