Sunday 15 th January 2023 marks World Religion Day. World Religion Day was first observed
in 1947 in a small hotel conference room in USA. Within three years, the event became
extremely popular with celebrations taking place nationally in the USA. This event is now
observed all over the world. Whilst a lot has changed since 1947, religion still plays a huge
role within our society with 84% of the world’s population identifying as part of a religious
group to this day (Visual Capitalist, 2023).

RELIGION AND THE LAW
Religion has played a pivotal role in our legal system. Examples can be seen in our Court
rooms where witnesses are invited to swear upon their holy book. Other common examples
can be seen with the making of our laws and legislation. For example, a Sikh is permitted to
lawfully carry a bladed article in accordance with their faith (Section 47, Offensive Weapons
Act 2019).

Arguably, the role of religion has been most prominent within Family Law proceedings. For
example, proceedings relating to children requires a Judge/Magistrate to consider a checklist
of items before making any decision relating to a child. This checklist is known as the
‘welfare checklist criteria’ and part of this criteria requires the court to consider a child’s
cultural and religious background. Therefore, the Courts are often having to consider religion
as part of their decision making and it is imperative that this is something you consider when
making your application.

However, it is not just children cases that often have the Courts considering religion and
culture. Quite often, matrimonial issues are intwined with religious and cultural issues.
Religious ceremonies such as Anand Karajs, Nikahs and Vivahas are not recognised by
English and Welsh Law unless they have been registered. The breakdown of unregistered
marriages often brings a number of complexed legal issues that must be dealt with carefully,
particularly when it comes to finances where you may not be able to make a claim pursuant
to the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973.

Even if your marriage has been registered, there are often additional issues that can arise.
One common issue arising out of religious marriages is how the party’s matrimonial gold and
dowery is distributed. Many cultures often provide gifts to a newly wedded couple and quite
often, these items are the most valuable matrimonial assets often holding values in excess
of £100,000. Sometimes these items will hold extreme sentimental value (often being
handed down the family for generations) Therefore, it is imperative that these issues are
resolved carefully.

HOW WE CAN HELP
Here at Greens, we have a team of diverse, specialist and dedicated lawyers who are
experts in dealing with the issues mentioned above. Our team of lawyers are experts within
both children and matrimonial law. Should you have any disputes relating to children then
please speak to one of our team who will be able to listen to your concerns and offer robust
advice. Our team have extensive experience in dealing with sensitive issues such as specific
issues orders relating to which religion a child shall follow.

Our team also have a wide range of experience in dealing with matrimonial issues and in
particular, unregistered marriages. If you have an unregistered marriage and are going
through a break-up then please contact our specialist team who can assist you in respect of
your rights. Even though your marriage is not recognised in Law, our team may be able to
help you run a case pursuant to the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996.
Our lawyers are also specialists at dealing with dowery and gold issues and will strive to
ensure that you achieve a fair and just result.

If you require any assistance then please call us!