What Does The Court Of Protection Have To Do With My Wedding?

A lot of people understand that the Court of Protection makes decisions about people's finances. The Court's powers are much wider than this though. Where there is a dispute about whether a person has the mental capacity to marry, the Court of Protection will make a decision. That is what happened in this case.

In the Judgment, the people who wanted to get married were called Name 1 and Name 2, but here for simplicity we will call them John and Jane.

John and Jane were due to get married on Saturday 21st September. When the Court heard the case, that was only a few days away.

John is 28 and has had learning difficulties from childhood. He was not able to manage his own finances and a professional deputy was appointed to look after those for him. He had an accident when working as a refuse collector, and lost a leg. He received compensation for that. That compensation was designed to meet his needs but not anybody else's. Part of the compensation was used to buy him a house and the remainder was invested. His total estate was about £1,500,000.

John did have capacity to make a Will and made one a couple of years ago leaving everything to his parents. He specifically said he did not want to benefit Jane. If somebody gets married after they have made a Will, that Will is no longer valid. The Judge suggested it would be a good idea for John to update that Will.

John's deputy was worried that he didn't have the capacity to get married. John and Jane have been together for about three years. Jane gave up a Council tenancy and moved into John's home with her two children. The Court looked at the test for capacity to marry.

The deputy had concerns about John's financial understanding of the marriage. John had said on more than one occasion to the deputy and his case manager that he didn't want to proceed with the marriage and that he wanted Jane to leave his property but he was scared of consequences that might result. John then said he didn't want Jane to leave. The case manager's evidence was also that he had said the relationship was so so, he had proposed to Jane because she had asked him, that the only reason he gave for getting married was that he wanted to be happier and that he struggled to understand the legal and financial implications of marriage and divorce.

A clinical neuropsychologist assessed John. He said "John is easily persuaded. He has difficulty saying no by his own admission. His reasoning is impaired. He is very vulnerable...

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