The consequences of Lord Hardwick's Act in Ireland: an unholy confusion of Church and State

M. Harding

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Lord Hardwicke’s Marriage Act of 1753 marked the start of State regulation of marriage in the British Isles. Before its introduction, marriage had been a matter for the Established Church and the ruling bodies of the other tolerated religions. This paper will examine the movement towards a secular marriage system which began with this act. The paper will suggest that although Lord Hardwicke’s act marked a promising beginning for the secularization of marriage law within the British Isles, the reinterpretation of the common law which occurred in Queen v Millis was symptomatic of the common law system’s reluctance to completely secularise the law in this area. Still today in Britain and Ireland some religious ceremonies have automatic legal effect while others have to comply with certain legal requirements and more have no legal effect whatsoever.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCrossing Legal Cultures
EditorsL. Varela, P. Vega, A. Spinosa
Place of PublicationMunich
PublisherMartin Meidenbauer Publishers
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)9783899751543
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Publication series

NameEuropean yearbook of young legal history series
PublisherMartin Meidenbauer Publishers

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