Can a robot solemnize your marriage? Unclear. Evan Brown of Internet Cases referenced this video from Mashable where a robot performs the service in (where else?) Japan. Evan Brown states:
I expected the [Illinois] statute to be phrased in a way that would at least strongly imply that the ceremony has to be solemnized by a person. But I’m not sure it’s totally clear.
Corpus Juris Secundum puts it this way:
Statutes usually provide that certain persons shall have authority to solemnize marriage, and where the ceremony is performed by one not authorized it is void, …
55 C.J.S. Marriage § 31
Ending a marriage is another story. According to a number of news stories, a Dallas attorney developed a divorce app which helps clients determine cost and documents necessary to complete a divorce.
Virtual Law Offices: The future of these kinds of virtual legal services is starting to get serious consideration by state bars. New Jersey’s bona-fide office rule prohibits virtual offices. See 2010 WL 1829019. North Carolina seems to have taken a more balance approach: See 2005 NC Eth. Op 10 and more recently, the North Carolina Proposed Formal Ethics Opinion Number 7 dealing with ‘cloud computing.’ See the Social Media Law Student article.
WestlawNext Query: can a robot solemnize a marriage?
Mike Carlson is a Westlaw Reference Attorney. Prior to joining Thomson Reuters in 2005, Mike practiced in the areas of copyright and trademark. Mike is currently a Masters candidate at Goddard College where he is investigating the role of games in building online communities.