Judgement reserved in humanist marriage High Court case

The hearing has now concluded in the High Court legal challenge that six couples have taken over the legal recognition of humanist marriages in England and Wales. At the end of the hearing, the judge reserved her decision until a future date. Their case is being supported by Humanists UK.

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.

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.’

Claimants Kate Harrison and Christopher Sanderson, who live in north Lincolnshire, 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!’

Claimants Victoria Hosegood and Charli Janeway, who live in Tonbridge, Kent, and intend to marry in Somerset, commented: ‘We are incredibly thankful that our voice, and the voices of many more humanists, have been heard in court and across Government. Our legal team did a fantastic job at conveying all the evidence and we are eagerly awaiting the final judgment.’

Claimants Finbar Graham and Jennifer McCalmont, who live in Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland, and intend to marry in north Devon, commented: ‘After following the case in court over the last couple of days we are extremely confident of getting a successful outcome, and look forward to getting the result all this hard work deserves in the coming weeks.’

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, solicitor at law firm 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.’

Please see the press release announcing the case for: information about the couples, including why they are taking the case, quotes, and photographs; what evidence was provided; more about humanist marriages; and endorsement quotes from politicians.


For further comment or information, please contact Humanists UK Director of Public Affairs and Policy Richy Thompson at press@humanism.org.uk or phone 07815 589636.