Public Governance and Private Relationships: State Regulation and Religious Marriage in the UK


Michelle Flynn
is an Irish barrister and a Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Germany. She is currently a Visiting Researcher at Yale Law School in the United States.  Michelle is a 2019 alumna of the ICLRS Religion and the Rule of Law Young Scholars Fellowship Program.

In Attorney General v Akhter & ors [2020] EWCA Civ 122 the UK Court of Appeal overturned a judgment of the High Court which held that an Islamic marriage ceremony, a nikah, could have legal effect. There was a certain irony in the decision, which focused on the formal requirements of marriage law in England and Wales, being issued on St. Valentine’s Day; originally a Christian feast day, it has become a globally recognized day to celebrate love and romance. In modern times, marriage is generally regarded as intensely romantic, however the reality of the potential complications of marriage in our increasingly diverse and multicultural societies is frequently overlooked. Continue reading “Public Governance and Private Relationships: State Regulation and Religious Marriage in the UK”