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Complainant Name:
Mr Joseph Markus

Clauses Noted: 1

Publication: The Times


Mr Joseph Markus complained to the Press Complaints Commission, under Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors' Code of Practice, that an article which reported on opposition by ministers to the European Union's Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms had inaccurately reported that the Charter would introduce a new "EU right to marry" into UK law.


The complaint was resolved on the basis of the newspaper's publication of the following reader's letter:


Sir, Your report "Ministers to block ‘right to marry' in EU backlash," (Dec 28) states that the Charter of Fundamental Rights [of the European Union] "enshrines a host of rights not found in other declarations," one of them being "a proposed ‘right to marry and found a family.'"

Not so. Article 9 of the Charter mirrors Article 12 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which provides that "Men and women of marriageable age have the right to marry and found a family, according to the national laws governing the exercise of this right." Article 12 of the Convention was incorporated into English law by the Human Rights Act 1998, section 6 of which provides that it is unlawful for a public authority to act in a way which is incompatible with a Convention right.

Perhaps the Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling, should read the 1998 Act before getting concerned about any new rights guaranteed by the EU Charter.

Date Published: 28/02/2014

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