Is there a need to obtain a declaration of nullity for a marriage that is void ab initio?

British Columbia, Canada


The following excerpt is from G.C.H. v. H.E.H., 2008 BCSC 1127 (CanLII):

The defendant is correct in submitting that in the case of a marriage that is void ab initio, strictly speaking, there is no need to obtain a declaration of nullity. In Meunier v. Meunier, [1997] B.C.J. No. 1156 (Q.L.)(S.C.), McEwan J. stated at para. 19: An action for a declaration of nullity on the basis that the marriage was void at initio by reason of the defendant's prior and subsisting marriage is not, strictly speaking, a matter requiring a ruling by the court. In such circumstances there never was a marriage to invalidate. If such facts are established there is really no lis, as such, between the parties. The person bringing the action is simply seeking to have an existing state of affairs recognized and affirmed by a tribunal with the authority to do so.

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