Couple challenge registrar’s refusal to allow them to marry

A couple have brought a legal challenge to a refusal to allow them to marry because it would allegedly be a sham marriage.

A Pakistani national, Rana Asad Riaz, and his Romanian fiancée, Diana Badiu, both of Homelawn Drive, Tallaght, Dublin, say they were told their planned wedding on January 9th last was objected to on grounds it would constitute a marriage of convenience.

They say, despite requests, they have been refused any details of the objection which led to this decision.

The High Court on Monday gave their lawyers permission to seek judicial review of the decision by Charles McGuinness, superintendent registrar at the Civil Registration Office.

In an affidavit, Mr Riaz said he came to Ireland in 2014 when he applied for asylum. He was sent back to the UK because that was where he had originally arrived in Europe and regulations require asylum applicants to be processed in their first country of arrival.

Intention to marry

Mr Riaz re-entered Ireland last August and applied for residency here based on the fact his partner, Ms Badiu, is a EU citizen.

He said he and Ms Baidu have been in a relationship since October 2015 and living together since January 2016. He proposed to her shortly afterwards and she accepted, he said.

They notified the Civil Registrar of their intention to marry in September but on December 28th were told there had been an objection and the matter was referred for investigation. The superintendent registrar upheld the objection on March 3rd.

In 2014 the Civil Registration (Amendment) Act gave registrars new powers to prevent marriages of convenience taking place for immigration purposes. Registrars have the right to investigate and to form an opinion, based on the information presented by the two parties, of the veracity of the application to marry.


The couple were unable to make submissions to the superintendent registrar because, Mr Riaz said: “I had no idea regarding the nature of the objection.”

They were also unable to appeal to the Circuit Court, as provided for by law, because they also had no information on which to base such an appeal, he said.

As a result, the couple sought a judicial review in the High Court.

Mr Justice Seamus Noonan granted their lawyers leave to bring the review and returned the matter to July. The leave application was made on an ex-parte (one side only represented) basis.

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