Southall Black Sisters (SBS), with support from the One Law For All campaign, recently intervened in the Court of Appeal case of Akhter v Khan to outline our concerns about the current law on marriage and its serious implications for black and minority (BME) women and their rights. The Court of Appeal judgment (14 February 2020) ruled that women who are unable to register their marriage in accordance with the law cannot on the break-up of their marriage seek to ‘void’ it, which means that they are not entitled to any financial remedies. This outcome has profoundly discriminatory consequences for minority women.
In light of this judgment, SBS and One Law for All have now written to the Law Commission as it is currently conducting a review of the law on marriage. We want to ensure that this issue is given proper consideration. You can find out more about the scope of the review here.
Our letter to the Law Commission follows a previous letter from SBS to the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Justice, dated 6th August 2018, setting out our concerns on Sharia law and civil divorce to which we received no response. You can read both letters here and here.
How can you support our campaign?
We welcome support for this campaign from members of the public.
Please contact the Law Commission directly, using the contents of our letters above: firstname.lastname@example.org. The Law Commission will be inviting views from stakeholders and members of the public. If you wish to participate, please respond to their consultation paper when it is announced. We will update our website when the consultation paper is made available. You can find out more about the Law Commission’s review here.
- Please also write to your local MP, using this template. You can find out who your local MP is and their contact details, using this website: https://www.writetothem.com/
- Please write to the relevant Parliamentary Select Committees: including the Women and Equalities Committee: email@example.com, the Joint Committee on Human Rights on this matter via: firstname.lastname@example.org the Justice Committee: email@example.com, to express your support for a reform of the marriage laws.
- Please promote this campaign on social media, using #OneLawforAll #EqualityNotDiscrimination.