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Insanity and Divorce

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Out of five judges three have answered in the negative, and two in the affirmative, the question put to them by the House of Lords in the Mordaunt case. The question was, whether the insanity of one of the parties in a divorce suit should preclude the other party from going on with his suit. Lady Mordaunt having been pronounced insane, the judge of the Divorce Court had decided that the insanity was, so long as it continued, a bar to the husband's prosecution of his suit to obtain a divorce on the ground of adultery; and this ruling was subsequently confirmed by a majority of judges in the full Court of Probate and Divorce—that is, we believe, by two out of three judges. Sir Charles Mordaunt appealed against this decision to the House of Lords, which thereupon called in the assistance of the judges, who have illustrated their perplexity and the uncertainty of law by delivering elaborate judgments on opposite sides of the question. It now remains for the House of Lords to determine whether it will accept the opinion of the majority, in which case Sir Charles Mordaunt may prosecute his suit for a divorce, or that of the minority, when he must remain without remedy so long as Lady Mordaunt is pronounced insane.

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The British Journal of Psychiatry
  • ISSN: -
  • EISSN: 2514-9946
  • URL: /core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry
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Insanity and Divorce

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