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RECENT CASE: Brune & Cline [2018] FCWA 209

The Family Court of Western Australia recently handed down a decision regarding the validity of a marriage between two parties following the discovery that their Pastor’s license was invalid.

The parties, who were married in 2017 were informed in the weeks leading to the ceremony that their Pastor’s license to officiate the wedding had lapsed but that he would have it renewed by the time of the ceremony. At the time of the ceremony, both parties believed that their Pastor held a valid marriage license.

When seeking to legally register the marriage, the parties were informed that the Pastor was not authorised to solemnise the marriage. Both parties wanted their marriage certificate to reflect the date of the ceremony.

Under s48(3) of the Marriage Act, a marriage conducted other than by or in the presence of an authorised celebrate is not valid. This rule is subject to one exception, being that is either party to the marriage, at the time of the marriage was solemnised, believed that that person was lawfully authorised to solemnise it and the form and the ceremony was sufficient to show an intention on the part of the parties to be lawfully wedded.

In this case, the court found that the parties truly believed that the Pastor in question was authorised to solemnise the marriage and that the ceremony in question demonstrated a true intention to be married. On this basis, the marriage was found to be valid from the date of the ceremony.


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