Spouses of sham marriages cannot succeed under the Intestate Succession Act 1967

As held in the High Court case of Gian Bee Choo and others v Meng Xianhui [2019] 5 SLR 812, an immigration advantage marriage would fall under the ambit of a sham marriage. Such sham marriages are void ab initio (the marriage never happened) under section 105(aa) read with section 11A(1)(a) of the Women’s Charter 1961.

The HC also held that Parliament would never have intended for a spouse of a sham marriage to be included in the distribution of a deceased’s estate under the Intestate Succession Act 1967.


Side note regarding sham marriages and the interplay with the Wills Act 1838: 

It is important to note that as the marriage is void ab initio, all the effects of marriage do not apply. Namely, a person’s will is revoked by marriage (section 13(1) of the Wills Act 1838 (WA)). However, as the marriage is void ab initio, it is treated as though it never happened. Therefore the revocation in s 13(1) of the WA will not apply.