Muslim couples must civilly register their marriage before or at the same time as their Islamic ceremony to ensure women are fully protected under family law, a government-commissioned independent review of sharia law has recommended. The review, published today, says that linking Islamic marriage to civil marriage ensures a greater number of women 'will have the full protection afforded to them in family law and the right to a civil divorce, lessening the need to attend and simplifying the decision process of sharia councils'. Religious marriages that take place in England and Wales which are not accompanied by civil registration are treated as non-marriages. They are not treated as void or voidable marriages as defined by the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 which would attract the right to financial remedies.
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