A 41-year-old man has failed in a legal bid to force his wealthy parents to continue financially supporting him.
A qualified solicitor with mental health disabilities, the man said his parents “nurtured his dependency” on them but reduced support as his relationship with them deteriorated.
His lawyers said the judge had powers to order parents to provide support based on laws relating to marriage and children.
But the judge ruled he had “no case”.
Sir James Mumby said in a ruling following a remote family court hearing that the claim was “most unusual” and as far as he knew “unprecedented”.
Neither of the parties were named, but the judge said the man lived in London and his parents in Dubai.
Although the man has a degree in modern history, is a qualified solicitor and has a master’s degree in taxation, Sir James said he has “various difficulties and mental health disabilities” and has been unemployed since 2011.
His parents have supported him, allowing him to live in a flat in central London that they own, and until recently paying the utility bills.
But the judge said: “The relationship between the applicant and his parents, in particular, it would appear, his father, has deteriorated and the financial support they are prepared to offer has significantly reduced.”
The man’s lawyer, Tim Amos, said his parents are “very wealthy” and could comfortably pay any support the court might reasonably order.
Mr Amos characterised the parents as having “nurtured his dependency on them for the last 20 years or so” and now “seek to cast that dependency onto the state”.
Lawyers for the parents disputed this account.
Sir James dismissed the case on legal grounds, saying the court had no jurisdiction to grant his claims under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, the Children Act 1989, or under human rights law.
The man’s lawyer had argued that the provisions in these laws allowing the court to order payments to support young children could also apply to adult children – if they were undergoing education and training, or if they had special circumstances such as a disability.
But the judge pointed out that these provisions only applied when a court order for financial support has already been made when the child is young, and when the parents are not living with each other – which was not the case for this man.
He said the law was clear that an adult child “should not be able to take his parents to court to obtain finance”.
The judge refused permission to appeal.
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