Dr Frances Matthews
In Ireland, and many other countries, only adults with the necessary decision making capacity are lawfully able to marry. The validity of a marriage is governed by statutory and common law considerations. The Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Bill 2013, which is part of the process of ratifying the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, proposes changes in the legislation governing marriage, in particular the repeal of the Marriage of Lunatics Act 1811 and the discontinuation of wardship, will mean that some cognitively impaired people will be able to marry. Case law from other jurisdictions may be important in deciding whether an individual has the capacity to marry. The test for the capacity to marry varies between common law jurisdictions.