I have been watching a supreme court hearing, and there are certain things that I don't understand. I have also not been able to find what these things mean on the internet. I will ask them as separate question.

The supreme court hearing is: https://www.supremecourt.uk/watch/uksc-2020-0133/150621-am.html

And my question is: What is meant by the father and the bride test? (appox 33min in)

All I get from the internet is the father and bride movie.

  • I can't view the video on my device so can't offer an answer, but it was once law that parental consent to marry was required for the under 21s parliament.uk/about/living-heritage/transformingsociety/…
    – Rick
    Aug 5 '21 at 8:02
  • 4
    The phrase is "the father of the bride", not "the father and the bride." In the audio, the pronunciation of the phrase is not very clear.
    – alephzero
    Aug 5 '21 at 14:46

This is an appeal from the decision in A Local Authority v JB [2020] EWCA Civ 735. In the part of the hearing to which you refer, Lord Stephens is asking the appellant’s counsel about the following principle, quoted at [31] of the judgment under appeal:

When considering capacity to marry, the question is whether X has capacity to marry, not whether she has capacity to marry Y rather than Z. The question of capacity to marry has never been considered by reference to a person's ability to understand or evaluate the characteristics of some particular spouse or intended spouse: Re E (and Alleged Patient); Sheffield City Council v E and S [2004] EWHC 2808 (Fam).

In Re E, Munby J said at [91]:

The point is suggested by Miss Waddicor's very pertinent rhetorical question: Can it seriously be suggested that the court has the right to vet E's suitors, to decide that X is suitable but that Y is unsuitable, to select who E is to marry? The answer to that question, in my judgment, is that the court quite clearly has no such role.

The ‘father of the bride test’ is the proposition rejected here: that the Court of Protection could play the traditional role of the father of the bride, by granting permission to marry a particular person, rather than determining the person’s capacity to marry in a more general sense.

  • 8
    And this role itself is archaic. IANAL, but I don't think the FotB has any legal right to prohibit marrying a particular person. The court is using this metaphorically.
    – Barmar
    Aug 5 '21 at 14:53
  • 1
    @Barmar - I think there are still some states where a minor can get married only with parental permission, but other than that I believe you are correct.
    – T.E.D.
    Aug 6 '21 at 0:58
  • True. I was thinking more of the tradition where the suitor would go to the father to ask his permission to propose.
    – Barmar
    Aug 6 '21 at 1:03

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