The Ugandan Customary Marriage (Registration) Act: a comment

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 16
  • SDG 5
  • Abstract:

    Different marriages in Uganda are govemed by different pieces of legislation. For example, church or civil marriages are govemed by the Marriage Act (1904),' which is in the process of being amended.^ Muslim marriages are govemed by the Marriage and Divorce of Mohammedans Act ( 1906),' which, like the Marriage Act, is also in the process of being amended,*" Hindu marriages by the Hindu Marriage and Divorce Act (1961 ),' which is also in the process of being amended,' and customary marriages by the Customary Marriage (Registration) Act (1973).^ As the name suggests, the Customary Marriage (Registration) Act regulates the registration of customary marriages in Uganda. This article highlights some ofthe provisions ofthe Customary Marriage (Registration) Act that need urgent amendment to bring them in line with the Constitution and Uganda's intemational human rights obligations. The article also discusses the jurisprudence emanating from Ugandan courts dealing with proving the existence of an unregistered customary marriage and the issue of distribution of property at the dissolution of a customary marriage. The article is divided into five parts. Part one is the introduction, part two highlights the provisions of the Customary Marriage (Registration) Act the need to be amended, part three discusses the jurisprudence emanating from Ugandan courts on proving customary marriages, part four with the sharing of property at the dissolution of a customary marriage, and part five is the conclusion.