An Act to remove doubts as to the validity of certain Marriages of British subjects on board Her Majesty’s ships. [21st July 1879.]

Whereas officers commanding Her Majesty’s ships on foreign stations have permitted marriages to be solemnized according to religious rites or ceremonies, or to be contracted per verba de presenti in the presence of such officers, in the belief that marriages were authorised by law to be so solemnized and contracted, and doubts have arisen with respect to the validity of such marriages, and it is expedient to confirm the same : 
Be it therefore enacted by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same as follows :

1.This Act may be cited as the Confirmation of Marriages on Her Majesty’s Ships Act, 1879.

2. All marriages, both of the parties being British subjects, which before the passing of this Act have been solemnized on board one of Her Majesty’s vessels on a foreign station in the presence of the officer commanding such vessel, whether solemnized according to any religious rite or ceremony, or contracted per verba de presenti, shall be valid in like manner as if the same had been solemnized within Her Majesty’s dominions with the due observance of all forms required by law.
Provided that this enactment shall not render valid any marriage which before the passing of this Act has been declared invalid by any court of competent jurisdiction in any proceeding touching such marriage, or any right dependent on the validity or invalidity thereof, or render valid any marriage where either of the parties has before the passing of this Act and during the life of the other party lawfully intermarried with any person. 

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First published in 2004.

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