Nearest Relative and wives


So just read something in the NR handbook by David Hewitt that if a patient is party to polygamous marriage the oldest of his or her spouse will be the NR - what??? Can someone please make this make sense.

Also if a patient is in an Islamic marriage with someone (which I believe is not recognised in UK law) and they are NOT actually living together as husband and wife then they must be disregarded - is this correct?

Don’t think there’s any mystery to this. It all follows from the normal application if the rules in section 26 of the Act.

The default order of priority is set out in subsection (1). Top of the list are spouses and civil partners.

Subsection (3) says, in effect, that if two or more people come in the same place in the list in subsection (1), then the oldest one is preferred.

So, if you have two spouses, the older spouse comes first. (This is quite possible - English law does recognise polygamous marriages from places where they’re legal.)

Similarly the rule in subsection (5) about disregarding spouses where there has been a permanent separation or a desertion would apply in the normal way. If the oldest spouse is disregarded as a result, the next in line would be the second oldest spouse, and so on until you run out of spouses and have to move down the list in subsection (1) to sons and daughters.

And, of course, all the other rules apply as well. So, for example, if you were living with your youngest spouse, they’d be your nearest relative (subsection 4).

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What doesn’t make sense?

The passage seems pretty clear.

Not everyone lives in the classic one-man-one-woman model and the MHA is applicable to anyone