B v R

JurisdictionIreland
JudgeMr. Justice Costello
Judgment Date01 January 1996
Neutral Citation1995 WJSC-HC 136
Docket NumberNo. 94P/1994,[1994 No. 94 P.]
CourtHigh Court
Date01 January 1996

1995 WJSC-HC 136

THE HIGH COURT

No. 94P/1994
B v. R

BETWEEN

B.
PLAINTIFF
-v-
R.
DEFENDANT

Citations:

OFFENCES AGAINST THE PERSON ACT 1861 S57

SHATTER FAMILY LAW IN THE REPUBLIC OF IRELAND 3ED 81

DUNCAN & SCULLY MARRIAGE BREAKDOWN IN IRELAND 50

RAYDEN & JACKSON ON DIVORCE & FAMILY MATTERS 16ED PARA 6.4

HALSBURYS LAWS OF ENGLAND 4ED V22 PARA 907

REGISTRATION OF MARRIAGES (IRL) ACT 1863 S11

RSC O.70

Synopsis:

MARRIAGE

Invalidity

Spouses - Claim - Grounds - Prior marriage - Same spouses - Procedure - Claim made in plenary summons - Order sought declaring second marriage void - Action dismissed - Offences Against the Person Act, 1861, s. 57 - Registration of Marriages (Ireland) Act, 1863, s. 11 - (1994/94 P - Costello P. - 24/1/95) [1996] 3 IR 549 - [1995] 1 ILRM 491

|B. v. R.|

1

Mr. Justice CostelloDelivered the 24 January 1995.

INTRODUCTION
2

This is an unusual, perhaps unprecedented, claim both in the procedures adopted and the basis on which it is advanced. It has been instituted by a wife against her husband who, instead of petitioning the court for a Decree of Nullity under Order 70, has by Plenary Summons instituted proceedings claiming a declaration that their marriage celebrated in Ireland some years ago is void. The grounds of invalidity advanced to support this claim is that she and her husband had married each other some months previously in the United States and it is said this United States marriage rendered their Irish one void and of no legaleffect.

THE FACTS
3

The facts (with dates and places omitted, to preserve anonymity) established by the plaintiff in these proceedings (which were not defended) are as follows:-

4

(1) The plaintiff (who was in her mid-twenties at the time) met the defendant (an American citizen) when he was on holidays in this country on St. Patrick's Day some years ago. A whirlwind romance developed. He returned to visit the plaintiff at Easter and she visited him in the United States in May. In July of the same year she decided to emigrate to the United States and seek work there. She became engaged to the defendant and some months later she married him in a civilceremony.

5

(2) The plaintiff and the defendant are both members of the Catholic Church. They had previously decided to get married in Ireland but went through the ceremony of marriage in the United States, the Plaintiff says, because of the practical problems which the plaintiff was encountering (relating to such things as work permit and car insurance) arising from the temporary nature of her visa. After the marriage they lived as husband and wife.

6

(3) They both wanted a full religious ceremony and some months later they married according to the rites of the Catholic Church in this country. All the arrangements for the marriage were made by the plaintiff's mother. No one was told of the marriage in the United States and the plaintiff's mother provided particulars for the preparation of the marriage certificate. The copy of the entry in the Marriage Register Book records the fact that in the Register (and presumably in the Certificate) the defendant was a "bachelor" and that the plaintiff a "spinster". These particulars were obviously not true but when the Certificate was signed after the marriage the plaintiff had not adverted to the mistaken information given in theCertificate.

7

(4) Difficulties arose in the marriage which, despite counselling, eventually broke down. The plaintiff left her husband in the United States and returned to Ireland where she presently resides andworks.

8

(5) On the application of her husband a Decree of Divorcewas given by a Superior Court in the State in which the first marriage took place based on the plaintiff's desertion in excess of twelvemonths.

THE PLEADINGS
9

The plaintiff instituted these proceedings by way of Plenary Summons claiming a declaration that the purported Irish marriage "is void and of no legal effect by reason of the prior subsisting marriage of the parties" and a declaration that "the parties hereto were "(on the date of the Irish marriage)" incapable of going through a valid ceremony of marriage by reason of the existence of the prior subsisting marriage of the parties ....". The defendant entered an Appearance and a Statement of Claim was delivered on the 2 February 1994, claiming the relief as set out in the Plenary Summons. No Defence was filed and on a Motion brought for Judgment in default of Defence it was ordered that the action be set down for hearing. At the hearing the defendant was represented and the court was informed that no objection to the plaintiff's claim was being advanced.

THE ISSUES
10

The...

To continue reading

Request your trial
6 cases
  • Foy v an T-Ard Chlaraitheoir and Others
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 9 July 2002
    ...ILRM 167 HYDE V HYDE & WOODMANSEE 1866 LR 1 P& D 130 FIFTEENTH AMDT OF THE CONSTITUTION ACT 1995 FAMILY LAW (DIVORCE) ACT 1996 B V R 1995 1 ILRM 491 Synopsis: CONSTITUTIONAL LAW Register of Births Gender identity disorder - Personal rights - Whether entry under sex in Register of Births o......
  • FOY v an tARD-CHLARAITHEOIR & AG
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 19 October 2007
    ...refers to the union of a biological man with a biological woman. Re-echoing Hyde v. Hyde [1866] L.R. 1 P&D 130, Costello J. in B. v. R. [1996] 3 I.R. 549 defined marriage (at p. 554) as "... the voluntary and permanent union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others for life.......
  • Katherine Zappone and Ann Louise Gilligan v Revenue Commissioners, Ireland and Attorney General
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 14 December 2006
    ...v SPAIN DECISION ECHR 10.5.2001 SHEFFIELD & HORSHAM v UK 1998 27 EHRR 163 T v T 2002 3 IR 334 2003 1 ILRM 321 2002/26/6842 B v R 1996 3 IR 549 1995 1 ILRM 491 1995/1/136 MURPHY v AG 1982 IR 241 NICOLAU, STATE v BORD UCHTALA 1966 IR 567 G v BORD UCHTALA 1980 IR 59 O'B v S 1984 IR 316 ......
  • I.H. (Afghanistan) v Minister for Justice & Equality
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 21 October 2019
    ...polygamous on the date it was contracted. An actually polygamous marriage is invalid ab initio: see per Costello J. in B. v. R. [1996] 3 I.R. 549. Ground D 15 Ground D contends that “The Respondent erred in law in making his decision on the basis that, in order for a refugee's spouse to qu......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
3 books & journal articles
  • The changing face of family law in Ireland
    • Ireland
    • Irish Judicial Studies Journal No. 1-5, January 2005
    • 1 January 2005
    ...by case law refers to the union of a biological man with a biological woman. Re-echoing Hyde v. Hyde , Mr Justice Costello in B. v. R (1995) 1 ILRM 491 defined marriage as … the voluntary and permanent union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others for life. As a result of th......
  • A Change Will Do You Good: The Evolving Position of Transsexuals under Irish & European Convention Law
    • Ireland
    • Trinity College Law Review No. VII-2004, January 2004
    • 1 January 2004
    ...asked to look at breaches of transsexuals rights in this area in Rees v. UK, 35 it had found no breach of the said article by twelve 3' [1995] 1 ILRM 491. 32 [1985] IR 532, at 535-536. 33 1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence. ......
  • Same-Sex Marriage
    • Ireland
    • Hibernian Law Journal No. 11-2012, January 2012
    • 1 January 2012
    ...he defined marriage as “the voluntary and permanent union of one man and one women to the exclusion of all others for life”, B v R [1995] 1 I.L.R.M. 491, p.495. Spencer, “Same Sex Couples and the Right to Marry – European Perspectives” (2010) 6 Cambridge Student Law Review 155, p.158; Moyni......

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT