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Does the law on predatory marriage need to change?

Date:12 APR 2023
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In recent years there have been calls for a change in the law to protect vulnerable adults from falling victim to what has become known as “predatory marriage”. This is due to a rise in cases where fraudsters have married vulnerable and often elderly individuals without the knowledge of their loved ones and are then able to access the new spouse’s lifetime savings and inherit their entire estate under the intestacy rules as marriage automatically revokes any previous Will a person may have made.


The Forced Marriage Act 2014 made it a criminal offence to marry a person who lacks the mental capacity to consent to the marriage whether they are pressured to or not. A marriage where a party did not properly consent because they did not have the necessary mental capacity to enter into the marriage is “voidable” and can be annulled.

The issue of capacity to marry is one that has been considered by the Court of Protection in recent years and has been developed by the case law. The Court of Protection and Mental Capacity Act 2005 are governed by...

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