§ 3.35 p.m.
§ Read a third time.
§ Moved, That the Bill do now pass.—(The Lord Chancellor.)
§ Lord Mishcon
My Lords, I believe that once again all noble Lords will wish to pay a tribute to the two Law Commissions whose recommendations are responsible for this useful little Bill. It does a great deal of tidying up.
I know that the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor will forgive me if I repeat something for the last time. It is that I have yet to see the justice and the logic of Clause 2 of the Bill under which a young Scots girl, domiciled in Scotland and coming here to marry, being under the age of 18, remains subject to Scottish law. Therefore, no parental consent is necessary. On the other hand, a young English girl going to Scotland will be subject to Scottish law in spite of her English domicile. In that regard there must be some mystery of justice which has escaped me. I wish to make abundantly clear the fact that I know that the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor is not recommending that by virtue of any national loyalty.
The Earl of Selkirk
My Lords, I note that in accordance with Clause 4 such marriage shall be solemnized and that the doors shall be open. Am I to understand that if the doors are closed, the marriage is invalid? It seems to be an extraordinary proposition and there may be an easy explanation. I believe that is a necessity quite out of line with the normal circumstances of a marriage.
§ The Lord Chancellor
My Lords, as regards the application of Scottish law in England, I do not believe that the Bill affects the proposition. It allows a person domiciled in Scotland and who is married abroad under the provisions of the Foreign Marriage Act to be married in accordance with the rules of Scotland. I believe that to be very just. I believe it is right that hitherto the Scots person being married abroad under these provisions was required to conform to the English law. Although I know that many noble Lords will consider that to be a great 1147 privilege, it does not appear to me to be entirely fair. The Bill makes it not absolutely obligatory on a Scots person being married abroad to conform with the rites of the Church of England. Again, that appears to be manifestly fair.
As regards the detailed question put to me by my noble friend Lord Selkirk, I did not entirely understand the difficulty he raised. Perhaps he will allow me to return to the matter in correspondence with him.
§ On Question, Bill passed and sent to the Commons.