The Telegraph newspaper reported last week that a billionaire London property developer has claimed that he was never married to his "wife" of 14 years in a bid to protect his £1.1bn fortune, the High Court has heard.

Mr Aziz seeks to have reversed a decree nisi pronounced in 2016 on the basis that a Muslim marriage ceremony, claimed to have taken place in Malawi in 2002, had never actually occurred. 

Cases where the validity of a marriage is called into question usually involve a marriage ceremony overseas, where the correct formalities have not been complied with. The question is whether the law of the country in which the marriage was celebrated declares the marriage invalid, in which case an English court will too. However, this is not the end of the matter.

The person who seeks financial relief after an invalid marriage may still be able to apply for a decree of nullity, rather than divorce.  They could still obtain financial relief from the court, as though they had been legally married.

The case continues..