DSS welcomes Court of Appeal judgement

11 Aug, 2020

Statements

The Decision Support Service welcomes the detailed and considered judgment of the Court of Appeal in a case concerning an intellectually disabled man who wishes to marry. In June 2019, the High Court granted an injunction to prevent the man’s wedding which was to take place the following day. At that time, the court began an enquiry into wardship.

The man has commenced a legal challenge to the wardship jurisdiction and the Marriage of Lunatics Act of 1811. Under the 1811 Act, wards of court may not validly get married. The man applied to have the wardship process halted while he progresses this legal challenge. This application was refused by the High Court but the Court of Appeal overturned the High Court’s decision. The Court of Appeal stated that the order of High Court gave rise to a serious risk of injustice to the man and that the court was not only entitled to but obliged to intervene in the matter.

The Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 will repeal wardship and the Marriage of Lunatics Act of 1811. The Decision Support Service notes in particular the remarks of Mr. Justice Collins who stated that it is regrettable that the 2015 Act has not been fully commenced and that: “this is hardly a satisfactory state of affairs given the vital importance of the issues that the 2015 Act addresses”.

The full judgement in this case can be viewed here

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