The recent case of Akhter v Khan [2018] EWFC 54 has caused widespread confusion on the question of whether an Islamic marriage not followed by a civil ceremony, is recognised as a legal marriage in the UK.

Despite the reports from a number of media sources, interested groups and misinformed family lawyers suggesting that such marriages will be considered valid marriages, the case law and legislation suggest that the answer is not quite so straight forward.

Prior to this case and until there is a change in legislation the position is as follows: As the UK is not a Muslim country it does not automatically recognise an Islamic marriage performed in England and Wales unless it was preceded or followed by a civil marriage which is registered with the Registrar of births, deaths and marriages.

Islamic marriages conducted in Muslim countries where they are recognised as legally binding however will continue to be automatically recognised as valid marriage capable of being dissolved through the Courts in England and Wales.

If Akhter v Khan tells us anything however it is that each case turns on its own facts and so if you are in any doubt as to whether your Islamic Nikah is considered to be a valid marriage capable of being dissolved by the family courts in England and Wales, you should seek legal advice.

Dodds Solicitors LLP are experts in Family Law and if you need advice in relation to divorce please do not hesitate to contact our specialist solicitors about divorce proceedings or other family matters.

To speak to a family solicitor at Dodds Solicitors LLP please call us on 0116 262 8596 or send us an email at

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