MARRIAGE: Re E (An alleged patient); Sheffield City Council [2004] EWHC 2808 (Fam)

02 DEC 2005

(Family Division; Munby J; 2 December 2005) [2005] 1 FLR 965, [2005] The Times January 20)

The local authority sought to prevent an adult, allegedly a patient, from marrying a man with a history of sexually violent crimes. A preliminary issue arose as to the appropriate questions to be put to experts in order to establish capacity to marry. The test was capacity to understand the nature of the contract of marriage, not the capacity to understand the implications of a particular marriage. The analogy with capacity to consent to medical treatment was neither helpful nor appropriate. The lawfulness of a marriage depended exclusively upon consent and best interests were neither here nor there.

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