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Ireland Intellectually disabled man in court fight to overturn marriage ban

23:56  30 january  2020
23:56  30 january  2020 Source:   independent.ie

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An intellectually disabled man prevented by court order from entering into a civil legal marriage has initiated a significant challenge aimed at having the High Court ’s entire wardship jurisdiction struck down as unconstitutional. The man , aged in his forties, objects to being taken into wardship and to the

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An intellectually disabled man who has been prevented from marrying has begun a legal challenge aimed at having the High Court's entire wardship jurisdiction struck down as unconstitutional.

The man, who is in his 40s, objects to being a ward of court.

His intended bride, who has an intellectual disability but is high functioning and is not the subject of any court order, also claims the order made last summer banning their marriage breaches her rights.

The couple have been in a relationship for more than 15 years.

The man's siblings and a charity providing residential and other services for him support wardship for reasons including six medical reports have all found he lacks capacity to make decisions about managing himself and his finances, which include a substantial inheritance.

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He is challenging two laws - the Lunacy Regulation (Ireland) Act 1871, which regulates the High Court's wardship procedure, and the Marriage of Lunatics Act 1811, under which any marriage entered into by a ward of court is automatically void.

It is claimed both are unconstitutional and/or incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.

When the wardship matter was mentioned yesterday before High Court President Mr Justice Peter Kelly, he was asked by Frank Callanan SC, for the man, to adjourn the wardship hearing pending clarification of issues concerning the constitutional challenge.

Those issues include whether the State will effectively immunise the man from any legal costs orders should he lose the challenge.

Having heard the sides, the judge said he will rule next week whether to grant the adjournment or proceed with the wardship inquiry.

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