egarded as valid until a decree annulling it has been pronounced”.
The only ground for a void marriage which may apply on the facts is if Norman and Deirdre failed to observe certain legal formalities required for a valid marriage . More information is needed on what formalities, were observed at wedding. However on the facts we are aware that the marriage ceremony took place in a registry office, as a result the marriage must comply with certain legal requirements. The marriage must have been solemnised under the authority of a superintendent registrars , and in the office of a superintendent registrar . A minimum of 15 days notice of the marriage must have been given to the superintendent registrars in the districts where the parties have resided for the last seven days . The notice is a prescribed format and is accompanied by a solemn declaration that there are no lawful impediments to the marriage , and that the residential requirements have been satisfied. The notice must have been entered in the marriage notice book which is open to public inspection and also be displayed . A certificate must have been issued which authorises the marriage to be solemnised. The marriage must be solemnised within 12 months from the day on which notice of the marriage was entered in the marriage notice book otherwise the marriage will be held void . There is insufficient information as to whether any of the requirements were satisfied. Nevertheless it should be noted that guilty knowledge is required by both parties to render the marriage void . As a result it maybe difficult to establish, that the marriage was void on this ground.
Norman may obtain a nullity decree if he can satisfy any of the requirements under s.12 MCA 1973 . A marriage is voidable if it has not been consummated owing to the incapacity of either party to consummate it, or the respondent wilfully refuses to consummate the marriage . A marriage is consummated as soon as the parties have sexual intercourse after the marriage ceremony . According to the facts Norman and Deirdre have not undertaken the activity of sexual intercourse since the marriage took place. There is no evidence that either Deirdre or Norman lack the capacity to consummate the marriage. In fact, we are informed they had sexual intercourse on a number of occasions before the marriage. A party cannot petition on his or her own wilful refusal to consummate . Since it is Norman who is refusing to sleep with Deirdre then it would appear that only Deirdre could petition on this ground. However it is submitted that Deirdre is opposing Norman’s petition therefore Norman would not be able to petition for nullity on this basis.
Norman can be advised that a marriage can be voidable if either party did not validly consent to it , It is noted that Norman may have consented to the marriage under a mistaken belief that Dierdre was a wealthy novelist. Mistake is operative in two cases only. Firstly it must be a mistake as to a person’s identity rather than a mistake as to their attribute . In the Australian case of C v D a woman who married a hermaphrodite was granted an annulment on the ground that she had made a mistake of identity because she believed she was marrying a man. However it has been held that where the petitioner makes the mistake of marrying the respondent on the belief that they are rich, when they are in fact poor, will not be sufficient grounds to deem the marriage voidable . Thus Norman marrying Deirdre on the grounds that he thought that she was a wealthy novelist will not be sufficient to hold the marriage voidable. Secondly it must be a mistake as to the nature of the ceremony. This criterion is strict, as Norman must have been unaware that he was contracting a valid marriage. In Valier v Valier , the husband who was an Italian and whose knowledge of the English language was very poor, was taken to a register office by the wife and they went through the usual form of marriage....
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