Marriage, the Law and Pluralism in Ghana

Book chapter

Akoto, A. 2024. Marriage, the Law and Pluralism in Ghana. in: Probert, R. and Thompson, S. (ed.) Research Handbook on Marriage, Cohabitation and the Law UK Edward Elgar Publishing. pp. 105-119
AuthorsAkoto, A.
EditorsProbert, R. and Thompson, S.

Marriage plays a central role in the conception and idea of family in African societies. As a consequence of the plural legal system in Ghana, there are three types of marriage: Civil, Customary and Islamic. This chapter will examine the impact of pluralism and the extent to which it determines the nature of marriage and its consequences. Notwithstanding this plurality, customary marriages remain the norm with the attendant effects on divorce and intestate succession. Despite some attempts at reform, the law(s) on marriage highlight the tensions between traditional and contemporary conceptions of marriage. The legal regulation of marriage serves to illustrate the limitations of the law, and the challenges this may pose in regard to its recognition and application.

KeywordsGhana; Family law; Customary marriage; Islamic marriage; Civil marriage; Legal pluralism
Book titleResearch Handbook on Marriage, Cohabitation and the Law
Page range105-119
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing
File Access Level
Publication dates
Print21 May 2024
Publication process dates
Deposited03 Jun 2024
Place of publicationUK
SeriesResearch Handbooks in Family Law
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Web address (URL)
Copyright holder© 2024, Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd.
Copyright informationIt is deposited under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.
Additional information

This is a draft chapter/article. The final version is available in Research Handbook on Marriage, Cohabitation and the Law edited by Rebecca Probert and Sharon Thompson, published in 2024, Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd.

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