is an appeal brought in a nullity suit confined solely to a debate on
discovery. The appeal is from the order of Kinlen J. of 6th May, 1998. He, in
turn, had affirmed an order of the Master of the High Court of 18th March, 1998.
motion took a rather unusual route and perhaps that was probably as a result of
the order of discovery that was sought. The order sought was an order directing
the respondent to make discovery of all documents in her power, possession or
procurement relating to any treatment received by her at any time from any
medical practitioner either on an in patient or out patient basis, or any
counselling or therapy received by her relating to any
matters are set forth in the petition. It is claimed that the petitioner did
not give a full, free and informed consent to his marriage to the respondent.
Then it is said that the respondent did not give a full, free or informed
consent to her marriage to the petitioner. It is then said that prior to and on
the date of the wedding ceremony the respondent by reason of her state of mind,
mental condition, personality and/or emotional, and/or psychological
development did not have the capacity to enter into or sustain a normal and
functional lifelong marital relationship with the petitioner.
is so that over the last ten years or more the scope of the nullity
jurisdiction of the courts has been expanded very much from the previous one
hundred years and it is in that context that this motion should be considered.
Both the Master and the High Court judge permitted limited discovery in regard
to any treatment and so forth that the respondent might have received for seven
years before the marriage. No medical documents coming into existence after
the marriage were to be subject to the order. I think that that really is to
curtail the remedy of discovery, and while family law matters have to be treated
would propose that there should simply be, substituting for what the Master did
and what Kinlen J. affirmed, an order for discovery in the ordinary way which
would require all relevant documents to be discovered and it is then for the
respondent’s legal advisers - giving the matter the greatest care which
they undoubtedly will do of course - to decide what should be disclosed and
what should not.