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Predatory marriage conference

Earlier this month, The Institute for Policy and Engagement at the University of Nottingham ran an in-depth virtual conference discussing the need for action on the issues surrounding predatory marriage.

Speakers included Daphne Franks from the Justice for Joan campaign. Daphne’s mother Joan was married by a predator some years her junior without her family’s knowledge while suffering with dementia and despite Daphne having been appointed as her attorney.

Listen to Daphne’s story

The capacity required to consent to marriage and safeguarding issues associated with predatory marriage was discussed by Rachael Clawson, associate professor, Centre for Social Work at University of Nottingham. Rachael was a practising social worker and is now an academic with a special interest in forced marriage of people with learning disabilities.

Listen to Rachael Clawson

Andrew Bishop, senior associate in Shoosmiths Personal Advisory Division dealing with disputes relating to wills, trusts and estates discussed the legal issues associated with the abuse of the marriage system  and how current legislation creates a predatory marriage trap.  Shoosmiths has provided invaluable advice and support to Daphne and Fabian Hamilton MP in their attempts to reform the law. Andrew concluded by explaining that the current state of the law is such that, although the courts have tried very hard, there is no argument relatives of the victim of predatory marriage, as in the case of Daphne Franks, can make to gain some sense of justice.

Listen to Andrew Bishop

There then followed a Q&A session, discussing the legal safeguarding that is currently in place with Helen Gott, principal associate in Shoosmiths Wealth Protection team and Lucy Taylor, partner specialising in Court of Protection work.

Listen to Helen and Lucy

The conference concluded with the thoughts of Fabian Hamilton MP, who introduced a private members bill (the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Consent) Bill) in 2018 but Brexit and Covid-19 meant the Bill was kicked into the parliamentary long grass. Fabian raised the issue again at Prime Ministers Questions on 09 June 2021 and, with advice and support from Shoosmiths, has been a  vocal champion of changing the law.

Listen to Fabian Hamilton MP 

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This information is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given. © Shoosmiths LLP 2022.


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