Report No. 15
31. Nullity of Marriage.-
Having dealt with the conditions of a valid marriage, we now proceed to consider the effect of a breach of those conditions on the validity of a marriage. In England, this question is considered on principles applicable to contracts. Under the general law, some contracts are void, as for example when they are illegal or immoral, and some are voidable, as for example when they are brought about by fraud, in which case it is open to the party defrauded to avoid them.
This distinction has been maintained in the law of marriages, certain grounds being recognised as grounds for declaring a marriage void, and certain others as grounds for annulling it. A void marriage is, under the law no marriage at all, whereas a voidable marriage is good and valid until it is annulled by an order of court. In English law, the differences in the legal consequences between the two classes of marriages are well-settled,1 and section 8 of the Matrimonial Causes Act, 1950, proceeds on a recognition of them.
1. Halsbury's Laws of England, Vol. 12, paras. (420-425); Tolstoy on Divorce, 4th Edn., pp. 98-99.