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Cover Human Rights Law Directions

19. Article 12: right to marry  

Without assuming prior legal knowledge, books in the Directions series introduce and guide readers through key points of law and legal debate. It discusses European Convention law and relates it to domestic law under the HRA. Questions, discussion points, and thinking points help readers to engage fully with each subject and check their understanding as they progress and knowledge can be tested by self-test questions and exam questions at the chapter end. This chapter deals with Article 12, the right to marry and found a family. The right can be qualified by reference to ‘national laws’. This qualification permits states to regulate and restrict marriage so long as the ‘essence’ of the right is not compromised. The human right to marriage gives public recognition and legal protection to the primary unit through which children are conceived and brought up. The European Court of Human Rights tends to allow a wide margin of appreciation in respect of issues over which a clear European consensus has yet to emerge. A number of issues are also discussed in Chapter 15, on Article 8.