Marriage Act 1949

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The Marriage Act 1949[1]
Long title An Act to consolidate certain enactments relating to the solemnization and registration of marriages in England with such corrections and improvements as may be authorised under the Consolidation of Enactments (Procedure) Act, 1949.
Citation 12, 13 & 14 Geo 6 c 76
Royal assent 24 November 1949
Commencement 1 January 1950[2]
Status: Amended
Text of statute as originally enacted
Revised text of statute as amended

The Marriage Act 1949 (12, 13 & 14 Geo 6 c 76) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom regulating marriages in England and Wales.

The Act had prohibited solemnizing marriages during evenings and at night. Since the Marriage Act 1836 it had been forbidden to marry between the hours of six in the evening and eight in the morning. This prohibition was repealed[3] on 1 October 2012.[4][5]

The Marriage Act 1949 was the first Act to be enacted under the Consolidation of Enactments (Procedure) Act 1949.[6]

Section 2[edit]

This section re-enacts the corresponding provision in section 1 of the Age of Marriage Act 1929.[7]

In 1971, Eekelaar wrote that the prohibition now contained in this section "though desirable, is extreme and inflexible." According to him it could result in "genuine hardship", such as where it is discovered, after years of apparent marriage, that a mistake was made, at the time of the ceremony, regarding the age of one of the spouses, or where one of the spouses concealed their real age, though, after 1971, some protection was afforded by section 6 of the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1970[8] (now repealed and replaced by the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975).

Section 4[edit]

This section was repealed[9] on 1 October 2012.[10]

Section 75[edit]

Section 75(1)(a) was repealed[11] on 1 October 2012.[12]

Royal family[edit]

The wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Bowles in 2005 brought into question whether civil marriages were available to members of the British royal family. Lord Falconer, the Lord Chancellor, replied to the House of Lords that in his opinion the marriage was in accordance with the 1949 Act - although documentary evidence indicated it was not.[13]


  • J C Arnold. The Marriage Law of England. Staples Press. 1951. Chapter V and Appendix.
  1. ^ The citation of this Act by this short title is authorised by section 80(1) of this Act.
  2. ^ The Marriage Act 1949, section 80(4)
  3. ^ The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, section 114
  4. ^ The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 (Commencement No. 3) Order 2012 (S.I. 2012/2234), article 3(m)
  5. ^ "Night-time weddings to be allowed". BBC News Online. 12 February 2011. 
  6. ^ O Hood Phillips. A First Book of English Law. Fourth Edition. Sweet and Maxwell. 1960. Page 90.
  7. ^ Bromley and Lowe. Bromley's Family Law. Eighth Edition. Butterworths. 1992. p 35.
  8. ^ John Eekelar. Family Security and Family Breakdown. Penguin Books. 1971. p 59. [1]
  9. ^ The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, section 114(1)(a)
  10. ^ The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 (Commencement No. 3) Order 2012 (S.I. 2012/2234), article 3(m)
  11. ^ The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, section 114(1)(b)
  12. ^ The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 (Commencement No. 3) Order 2012 (S.I. 2012/2234), article 3(m)
  13. ^ "Royal wedding legal says minister". BBC News Online. 23 February 2005. 

External links[edit]