Sham Marriage Act - declared bogus

Home Office suspends restrictions on marriages to foreign nationals - NCADC

Charles Clarke suffered a severe blow in the High Court yesterday to his restrictions on non-EU nationals marrying. For over a year Mr. Clarke has been refusing many couples permission to marry because one or both of them had less than six months leave to remain in the UK.

Three couples who were refused permission to marry by the Home Secretary sought legal action. Yesterday the High Court heard arguments that in refusing their marriage applications, the Minister had infringed their right to family life.

In his judgement Justice Silber ruled that the Home Secretary had been irrational in allowing marriages where one of the couples was subject to immigration controls to take place with out restriction in Anglican ceremonies but not in those of all other faiths. In doing so the Minister was clearly discriminating on grounds of nationality and religion and therefore breaching Article 12 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the right to marry and found a family. The rules were being used as a form of immigration control and completely with out justification.

Speaking after the ruling, Amit Sachdev representing one of the couples said: "This once again shows the Government's abject failure to respect the human rights of immigrants. This Act which brought in these rules was a knee-jerk reaction based on speculation rather than evidence. The House of Lords complained that the Act had not received proper parliamentary scrutiny. By this judgment, their concerns have proved correct."

Richard Drabble, barrister for the couples said: "It is more difficult to imagine a more fundamental right than the right to marry in accordance with one's fundamental cultural requirements and to found a family."

Home Office made money from inflicting misery:

Each application to the Home Secretary for permission to marry cost 135 per person. According to the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, between February 2005 (when the new rule came info effect) and the end of August, the Home Office received 7,201 such applications, creating just under 1,000,000 in revenue. NCADC wants to know if the couples who applied and were refused will be given their money back. We are concerned about some who complied with Home Office instructions to return to their country to apply from there for entry clearance back to the UK for the purposes of marriage. Some have returned to dangerous countries which they fled due to persecution and have not yet been able to return.

After the judgement the Home Office said they will as of immediate effect; suspend until further notice, consideration of applications for certificates of approval which would usually fall for refusal.

That means those refused permission to marry under the legislation can now do so.

On hearing of the judgement 'Brides Without Borders' said: "Though couples will have the right to marry the ruling will not stop the Home Office splitting couples apart by insisting that the one with out leave to remain will have to leave the UK and apply for re-entry. This judgement means we have won on securing the right to marry and leads people to question why the Home Office separates couples who are married. We will continue to campaign to keep married as well as unmarried couples and their children together."

Brides Without Borders - Keep Couples Together is a rapidly growing national campaign led by British men and women affected by cruel Asylum policies, who face being forcibly separated from their foreign national partners in the name of "maintaining effective immigration controls".

To contact Brides Without Borders;
Email -



April 2006

> > home page > >