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R v Millis reconsidered: binding contracts and bigamous marriages

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Abstract:

The 1844 decision of the House of Lords in R v Millis – which apparently held that the presence of an episcopally ordained minister had been necessary to create a valid marriage even before legislation was introduced to regulate the formation of marriage – has universally been regarded as erroneous by generations of scholars. This paper shows that the outcome of the case was in fact correct, even though the reasoning of all but one of the judges was flawed. It explains why the case has been misunderstood, and why the misunderstandings it demonstrated have never been corrected.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1748-121X.2008.00098.x

Publication date: September 1, 2008

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