|Lord Justice of Appeal|
1974 – 1982 (retired)
|Born||20 October 1911|
|Died||6 January 1992|
|Alma mater||The Queen's College, Oxford|
|Committees||Lord Chancellor's committee on legal education (chair, 1968)|
|Service/branch||Royal Army Medical Corps|
|Years of service||1942-1945|
|Unit||deputy assistant director of medical services, 8th Corps|
After serving in the Royal Army Medical Corps during the Second World War, he returned to legal practice, specializing in divorce cases and becoming Queen's Counsel in 1958. In 1961 he was appointed a judge of the Probate, Divorce and Admiralty Division, and in 1974 a Lord Justice of Appeal.
He was a significant figure in the development of the jurisprudence of no-fault divorce in the English courts.
His best known finding, in the case Corbett v Corbett (1971), was that the male-to-female transsexual partner to a marriage, while a woman for many legal purposes, did not qualify as a woman for purposes of marriage:
sex is clearly an essential determinant of the relationship called marriage because it is and always has been recognized as the union of man and woman. It is the institution on which the family is built, and in which the capacity for natural heterosexual intercourse is an essential element. [...] Having regard to the essentially heterosexual character of the relationship which is called marriage, the criteria must, in my judgement, be biological [...]. My conclusion therefore is that the respondent is not a woman for the purposes of marriage, but is a biological male and has been so since birth. It follows that the so-called marriage of 10 September 1963 is void.
- Obituary in The Times, 9 January 1992.
- Mary Douglas (ed.), Rules and Meanings, p. 116; citing Corbett v Corbett (otherwise Ashley), The Law Reports, Part 5, May 1971, Probate Division, pp. 105-7.
|This United Kingdom law-related biographical article is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.|