Ma Siu Siu Vivian v Tam Wai Mun Alice [2020] 1 HKLRD 267

Eric Leung (led by Johnny Mok SC) appeared for the defendants in the Court of First Instance in Ma Siu Siu Vivian v Tam Wai Mun Alice [2020] 1 HKLRD 267.

The primary case advanced on behalf of P, a daughter of M and Madam W (both now deceased), was that her parents’ marriage in 1961 was validated as a modern marriage under s.8 of the Marriage Reform Ordinance (Cap.178) (the MRO) which came into force on 7 October 1971. M entered into a registry marriage with D1 on 28 April 1970. D2, a son of M and D1, contended that: (a) M and Madam W had not contracted a modern marriage because their alleged marriage was not celebrated “openly and publicly”; and (b) in any event, no marriage could be validated under the MRO after one of the parties had lawfully contracted a marriage before the MRO came into force. P replied that M did not have the legal capacity to marry D1 as he was already validly married to Madam W.

Held, declaring that subject to D1’s entitlement under s.4 of the Intestates’ Estate Ordinance (Cap.73), M’s residuary estate shall be held as to one half in trust for D1 and as to the other half on trust for P and D2, that:

(1) On the evidence, there was a valid open modern marriage ceremony between M and Madam W in 1961. (See para.74.)

(2) Notwithstanding the registry marriage between M and D1 in 1970, the modern marriage between M and Madam W in 1961 was validated by s.8 of the MRO, when the MRO came into force in 1971. (See para.82.)

(3) From the validation in 1971 of the 1961 modern marriage onwards, both marriages were valid. The validity of the 1970 registry marriage was not affected by M and D1’s knowledge of the 1961 modern marriage between M and Madam W. (See paras.93-95.)

(The above headnote is taken from HKLRD.)

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