Justice for Joan and Predatory Marriage

When we started our campaign we were advised that “Predatory Marriage” was too strong a term, despite the fact that it is in use in other countries. So we called the campaign justiceforjoan.com. Now that the term “Predatory Marriage” has become much more widely used in the United Kingdom, we have incorporated it into our campaign. We found that the phrase “Justice for Joan” was causing people to think that the campaign was just about Joan Blass – which is very much not the case. It is about putting protection in place for all those who lack the mental capacity to marry.

Joan Blass was 91 with severe dementia and terminal cancer. After her death in March 2016, we found that a much younger man, age 68, had secretly married her five months previously. She never knew that she was married (see Our Story section for full story). These events have had a devastating effect on our family both emotionally and financially. We were shocked by how few checks there were to stop this marriage taking place. We believe that there needs to be better protection against such predatory marriage to prevent this happening to anyone else.

We aim to…

  • Change the law such that a marriage does not automatically revoke a Will
  • Create an offence of Predatory Marriage, perhaps as a subset of Forced Marriage.
  • Publish Notices/Banns on the Internet.
  • Train Registrars to look for signs of insufficient mental capacity to marry.
  • Add a robust set of questions for registrars to ask at marriage, with clear procedures for them to follow if correct answers are not given.
  • Ensure Registrars will stop a marriage ceremony if there are any doubts.
  • Add “The marriage was fraudulent” to the permitted reasons to annul a marriage after one party has died.