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Rituals of Recognition: Ethnic Minority Marriages in British Legal Systems

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Chapter Summary

Besides the more general questions of the link between culture and law, and new types of legal pluralism, this chapter explores the ways in which judges struggle when dealing with ethnic minority marriage solemnisation. Questions involving translocal marriage occur in a number of contingent social contexts including the phase of initial migration, spousal reunification, or marriage formation across localities. In the study on English Law and Ethnic Minority Customs Sebastian Poulter outlined the framework that forms the basis for according official legal recognition to Afro-Asian forms of marriage solemnization. The cases discussed in the chapter illustrates the inherent instability of the British systems of laws on marriage which basically underplay or deny the importance of the socio-legal sphere and, in so doing, judges have to perform gymnastics involving their own principles in order to accord or deny recognition to ethnic minority marriages.

Keywords: British legal systems; ethnic minority marriages; judges; laws on marriage; legal pluralism



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