Judgement reserved after ‘humanist marriage’ hearing at the High Court

A legal challenge at the High Court - which has been led by a couple from Lincolnshire - has concluded this week.
Chris Sanderson and Kate Harrison, from Louth.Chris Sanderson and Kate Harrison, from Louth.
Chris Sanderson and Kate Harrison, from Louth.

As reported previously, six couples took the case to the High Court to demand the legal recognition of humanist marriages in England and Wales. Their case is being supported by Humanists UK.

At the end of the hearing this week, the judge reserved her decision until a future date.

Reserving her judgment, Mrs Justice Eady said that she doesn’t know when she will return a decision, but, recognising the importance of the matter to the claimants, intended to give the matter her priority. It is therefore hoped that the judgment will be returned soon.

Claimants Kate Harrison and Christopher Sanderson, from Louth, commented: “It’s a terrific achievement to have got so far with this and had our day in court – here’s hoping the judge decides in our favour!”

At the end of the hearing, Humanists UK Chief Executive Andrew Copson commented: “We are glad for these couples to have had their day in court, after two years of hard work getting to this point, and on a hugely important issue that has been at the top of our agenda with the Government for a decade now. We very much hope the judge rules in our favour and look forward to receiving her decision in due course.”

The claimants are being represented by Ciaran Moynagh of Phoenix Law, Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC of Doughty Street Chambers, and Steve McQuitty BL of the Bar Library of Northern Ireland. Humanists UK is supporting them in bringing the claim.

Ciaran Moynagh from Phoenix Law said: “The court hearing is another significant milestone in what has been a protracted journey for legally recognised humanist ceremonies. We are confident that the legal principles and human rights arguments raised hold strong weight and we look forward to receiving a judgment in due course.”