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Bellinger v Bellinger

[2003] UKHL 21

Case summary last updated at 07/01/2020 15:12 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case Bellinger v Bellinger

A male to female transsexual who had married as a woman sought a declaration from the courts to the effect that she had contracted a valid marriage. Under the Matrimonial Causes Act, marriage had to be between a man and a woman, using criteria that prevented gender reassigned individuals, such as the plaintiff, from being recognised as having become a woman. HL accepted that this was a breach of P’s article 8 and 12 rights and granted a s.4 declaration of incompatibility. 
 
Lord Nicholls: He denied that no useful purpse would be served by s.4. He said that it was appropriate for the house of lords to recognise that the law was incompatible with ECHR at the moment and that it was better to use s.4 than s.3 since the government was planning primary legislation on the matter anyway. 

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