Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 24th January 2022.

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Photo of Baroness Cox Baroness Cox Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Integrated Communities Strategy Green Paper published on 14 March 2018, whether they can provide an update on their progress in exploring "the legal and practical challenges of limited reform relating to the law on marriage and religious weddings."

Photo of Lord Wolfson of Tredegar Lord Wolfson of Tredegar The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

This is a difficult issue which requires careful consideration. The Law Commission are looking at aspects of the problem through their review of the law governing legal marriage ceremonies. This review will present options for reforms to modernise marriage law, including in relation to who can solemnise a marriage and ways of ensuring that fewer weddings conducted according to religious rites result in a marriage that the law does not recognise at all. The Government will consider the case for more comprehensive and enduring reform to marriage law once the Law Commission’s recommendations have been received.

A separate Nuffield Foundation study, launched in September 2020 and due to report shortly, is investigating why marriage ceremonies occur outside of the legal framework for weddings in England and Wales, and the findings of this report will also be carefully considered. Any proposals affecting how religious groups are permitted to conduct marriages must be thoroughly assessed for their fairness.

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