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.

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

What is meant by "the father and the bride test"? (approx 33min in)

  • 6
    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
    Commented Aug 5, 2021 at 14:46
  • Is there a transcript availeable?
    – Trish
    Commented Oct 24, 2022 at 8:08

1 Answer 1


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.

  • 9
    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
    Commented Aug 5, 2021 at 14:53
  • 2
    @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.
    Commented Aug 6, 2021 at 0:58
  • 1
    True. I was thinking more of the tradition where the suitor would go to the father to ask his permission to propose.
    – Barmar
    Commented Aug 6, 2021 at 1:03
  • 1
    @Barmar right, nowadays that is only a tradition with no legal effect. A couple who marry without the permission of the father may be committing a social faux pas but will contract a legally valid marriage. Commented Mar 15, 2022 at 18:25

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .