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Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act 2014


219.The Domicile and Matrimonial Proceedings Act 1973 (“the 1973 Act”) makes provision on the jurisdiction of the Scottish courts to deal with court actions on divorce, separation, declarator of nullity of marriage and declarator of marriage and on actions for declarator of recognition or non-recognition of relevant foreign decrees. The 1973 Act has been amended previously to take account of EC Regulation 2201/2003 (known as Brussels IIa) on jurisdiction, recognition and enforcement of judgments in matrimonial matters and in the matters of parental responsibility. EC Regulation 2201/2003 deals with opposite sex marriage only.

220.Schedule 1 makes provision on the jurisdiction of the Scottish courts in relation to same sex marriages. The schedule amends the 1973 Act to make provision for court actions in relation to same sex couples. The schedule also enables the Scottish Ministers to make provision corresponding to EC Regulation 2201/2003.

221.In addition, overseas couples who enter into a same sex marriage in Scotland but remain or become habitually resident or domiciled in another country may not be able to end their marriage in that country if it does not recognise the existence of the relationship.

222.The schedule therefore amends the 1973 Act to provide a “jurisdiction of last resort” so that those same sex couples who are unable to divorce or obtain other matrimonial order in the country which would normally have jurisdiction are able have their case heard in the Scottish courts. The Scottish courts will be able to assume jurisdiction if the couple were married in Scotland and it is the interests of justice to do so.

223.Provision of a similar nature was made in respect of civil partnerships under Chapter 3 of Part 5 to the Civil Partnership Act 2004. Part 4 of Schedule 4 to the UK Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 makes similar provision in respect of the jurisdiction of the courts in England and Wales in relation to matrimonial actions for same sex couples.

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Text created by the Scottish Government to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Acts of the Scottish Parliament except those which result from Budget Bills.


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