My previous four blog posts on the saga of whether the exemption in the COVID Regulations covers marriages that do not have legal effect have now been consolidated and edited together for a post on Law and Religion UK:
The post reviews the saga and explores the position under the latest version of the Regulations. It asks whether independent celebrants are covered under the current law.
A number of legal innovations have occurred as part of this saga. The English Regulations now recognise the existence of alternative wedding ceremonies operating outside the Marriage Act. And in the Welsh guidance, practices of belief systems are included the definition of place of worship for the first time.
The blog post also argues that this controversy also underlines the need for marriage law reform but also underscores the risk that such reform might focus on ‘religion or belief’ and therefore exclude ceremonies by independent celebrants.