Judge backs 'uneducated' husband in finance case, despite poor grasp of English

An "uneducated" man has been given the go-ahead to manage his sick wife's finances by a specialist judge in England despite concerns about his inability to understand English.

Judge backs 'uneducated' husband in finance case, despite poor grasp of English

An "uneducated" man has been given the go-ahead to manage his sick wife's finances by a specialist judge in England despite concerns about his inability to understand English.

Judge Denzil Lush heard that the 70-year-woman, like her husband from Pakistan, has dementia.

Her daughter from her first marriage had objected to her second husband becoming her deputy for property and affairs. The daughter said the man was "uneducated", unable to speak English and unfamiliar with UK systems.

But Judge Lush ruled that the man's language difficulties are not enough to stop him making decisions about his wife's money.

He analysed the case at a private hearing in the Court of Protection - where issues relating to vulnerable people who lack the mental capacity to make decisions are considered - in London.

"The question I have to decide is whether (his) functional illiteracy is of such a degree as to make it impossible for him to manage (his wife's) property and affairs effectively and in her best interests," said Judge Lush.

"I am loath to underestimate and undermine the importance of basic literacy and numeracy skills, which are generally expected of any candidate who is applying to be appointed as a deputy for property and affairs.

"However, I am not convinced that (the man's) limited ability to speak English, and his inability to read and write English (particularly in his encounters with officialdom) is so great as to warrant not appointing him as his wife's deputy."

Judge Lush added: "The court's function is, wherever possible, to empower rather than disenfranchise and, in my view, it would be preferable to allow (the man) to receive support in carrying out his functions as deputy in a way that is proportionate to his needs, rather than refuse to appoint him.

"In this case, it is unlikely that someone with first-rate literacy skills would prove to be a better deputy than (the woman's) devoted husband."

The woman arrived in England in the mid-60s and had run a grocery store, Judge Lush said. Her first husband died in 1994.

The man, who is in his 50s, arrived in England in the late 1990s and ran a dry cleaning business.

He married the woman about 15 years ago and now cares for her full time.

Judge Lush said the couple, who live in London, could not be identified.

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