The Court of Appeal has ruled that Islamic faith marriages are not valid under English law.

The judgment overturned an earlier high court decision, which ruled that an Islamic marriage, known as a nikah, was recognised under English matrimonial law and re-established the position that nikah are non-qualifying ceremonies that do not give rise to a legally valid marriage.

Nikah marriages are only legal if the couple also go through a civil ceremony, yet, according to a Channel 4 poll, only two thirds of couples who take part in a nikah ceremony in the UK choose to do so. This means that many couples do not have the same financial protections as they would if their ceremonies were recognised as a marriage under English law.

Fran Hipperson, family partner, B P Collins said:

“Spouses of nikah marriages are left financially vulnerable if they don’t have a civil ceremony and the relationship subsequently breaks down. The financial claims available to couples in this position are more limited than they are for couples whose marriages are legally recognised and it is important that independent legal advice is taken as soon as possible”

If you are concerned about the breakdown of your relationship, and want to know more about the options available to you, please contact Fran Hipperson on for a confidential chat.

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