Posted by Patrick Hart, Partner
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Court rules that man can decide to marry
A Judge has ruled that a man with learning disabilities does have the capacity to make the decision to get married.
The case had been referred to the Court of Protection amid concerns that the 29-year-old was at risk of being forced into a wedding.
Concerns had been raised by a local council’s social services department, who feared that relatives might be preparing to “facilitate” a marriage.
Mrs Justice Parker heard from a psychologist, social services staff and the man’s family during a hearing in London.
She acknowledged that the man’s condition would pose challenges for a future wife, but concluded that he did have the capacity to have sexual relations and to marry.
“(The man) is on the borderline of understanding in respect of some of the more refined evaluations,” said Mrs Justice Parker.
“I do not know whether a marriage will truly bring happiness to (him). His disabilities will provide challenges for any wife, and they will be different for a wife who has capacity from one who lacks it.
“A marriage might lead to distress, conflict and misery for (the man) and his family, as opposed to enhancement of his life and of his personal autonomy.
“But it is not for me to weigh up the relative chances of finding a wife who is prepared to love and cherish (him) with all his needs against that of finding one who is unequal to the task.”
The man’s relatives have insisted there are no firm plans for him to marry and they would continue to seek information about the practicalities of any such match.
To find out more about the family services we provide, please contact Patrick Hart from our family law team today.