Home > Family > France > 2008-11-17 - Court of appeal of Douai, n. 08/03786

2008-11-17 - Court of appeal of Douai, n. 08/03786

Family · France · Marriage

The lie not pertaining to an essential capacity of the spouse cannot found the annulment of a marriage (virginity and former sentimental life of the bride)

Key facts of the case - The applicant lodged an appeal with the First instance Court (TGI) of Lille to annul his marriage on the ground that the bride had not been a virgin. Since his wife agreed on the request for annulment grounded on the fact that she lied about her virginity, it may be deducted that she held this quality for essential to M. X.’s consent. The marriage could be annulled for mistake on the essential capacities of the spouse (article 180 of the civil code). The government procurator nevertheless appealed this judgement.

Main reasoning of the court - The Court of appeal of Douai overturned the judgement handed down by the first court. Indeed, it held that the lie which does not pertain to an essential capacity cannot found the annulment of a marriage. Such is the situation when the alleged lie would be related to the sentimental life of the future spouse and her virginity, which is not an essential capacity, in the sense that it has no consequence on matrimonial life.

Comment - It is noticeable here that the decision does not make any reference to the religion of the applicant. The case was nevertheless described as involving a Muslim couple. It should also be underlined that the Court of appeal acted against the final wishes of both husband and wife, who, after this decision, are still married.