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23 MAR 2006

<i>Sheffield City Council v E and Another</i> - capacity to marry and the rights and responsibilities of married couples

Ruth Gaffney Rhys, Senior Lecturer in Law, Newport Business School, University of Wales, Newport. In Sheffield City Council v E and Another [2004] EWHC 2808 (Fam), [2005] 2 WLR 953, the Family Division of the High Court recently held that an individual has capacity to marry if he or she understands the nature of the marriage contract, ie that marriage normally involves certain obligations. The court then proceeded to define the rights and responsibilities that normally attach to marriage. This commentary considers the level of knowledge required to satisfy the test for capacity to marry. It assesses whether the rights and responsibilities referred to in the case are actually legal obligations and considers whether they are simple enough for an ordinary person to understand.

See Child and Family Law Quarterly, Vol 18, No 1, 2006.

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