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Alice H
Alice H, Solicitor/Partner
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 2850
Experience:  Partner in national law firm
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We are british nationals. My husband has converted to Islam

Customer Question

We are british nationals. My husband has converted to Islam and taken a second wife in The U.A.E where is it legal, without my knowledge until now. Is he a bigamist under UK law or is it acceptable because it is acceptable in the U.A.E?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Alice H replied 3 years ago.
Alice H : My name is ***** ***** I'm happy to help with your question today.
Alice H : Bigamy is a criminal offence in the UK under the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 regardless of where the second marriage took place.
Alice H : Here is legislation for your information and you will see specific reference to the words "...or elsewhere".57. Bigamy. Offence may be dealt with where offender shall be apprehended. Not to extend to second marriages, &c. herein stated.Whosoever, being married, shall marry any other person during the life of the former husband or wife, whether the second marriage shall have taken place in England or Ireland or elsewhere, shall be guilty of felony, and being convicted thereof shall be liable . . . to be kept in penal servitude for any term not exceeding seven years . . .
JACUSTOMER-0rxdl9u5- : Thank you. I've read that it could be acceptable if it took place in a country where the practice is legal like Dubai. This worries me a great deal. Are you sure there are no exceptions?
JACUSTOMER-0rxdl9u5- : The elsewhere looks clear. I have started divorce proceedings. If his second marriage comes up during these proceedings is he referred to a criminal court?
Alice H : I'm sorry I misunderstood what you meant.
Alice H : Being married to more than one person at a time is recognised in England and Wales if it took place in a country that allows marriages of this kind (not in the UK) and both parties were legally free to marry in this way.mean that someone who is legally married in the UK could potentially marry someone else abroad, as marrying abroad means that the offence of bigamy under UK law is not applicable. However, he or she may be guilty of an offence overseas depending on whether the county he or she marries in criminalizes polygamy.
Alice H : In short, although bigamy is a crime in the UK, he could avoid prosecution by marrying in a country which allows him to marry more than once.
JACUSTOMER-0rxdl9u5- : yes, this is the text i found on wikipedia. So does that mean he is in the clear because he was married in dubai and it is a recognised marriage there?
Alice H : Yes that's correct. The UAE allows a man to marry more than one wife. As such his marriage is legal in Dubai and by extension he has a defence to bigamy in the UK.
JACUSTOMER-0rxdl9u5- : Oh dear. That is not good news.
Alice H : I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news but that's the position in law.
JACUSTOMER-0rxdl9u5- : Can i ask you if he cancels my childrens' passports, can he apply for new ones without my consent before the divorce?
JACUSTOMER-0rxdl9u5- : Ok. Thank you. Is wikipedia text a reliable source? Is your advice from statute?
Expert:  Alice H replied 3 years ago.
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Expert:  Alice H replied 3 years ago.
I received a message that you have asked for more information but I cannot see your question. Would you mind repeating?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
JACUSTOMER-0rxdl9u5- : Ok. Thank you. Is wikipedia text a reliable source? Is your advice from statute?
Expert:  Alice H replied 3 years ago.
Wikipedia is onoy a good source if you can be sure that the information posted is a true statement of the law. The information I have given you can be confirmed if you look at section 57 Offences Against the Person Act 1861 by using this link:
You can also find a reliable source of information by clicking here: