The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Minimum Age) Act 2022 provides for a new minimum marriageable age of 18 and is reinforced by revised statutory guidance published on 23rd April 2023: “The right to choose: government guidance on forced marriage.”
In June 2023, Martin Downs obtained a series of Forced Marriage Protection Orders – which are some of the first to be made using the revised law.
Following legislation which came into force on 27 February 2023, it is an offence to engage in any conduct for the purpose of causing a child to marry before their eighteenth birthday, even if violence, threats or another form of coercion are not used. Such a marriage is deemed a forced marriage. The same legislation also provides that the minimum age at which one can legally marry or enter into a civil partnership in England and Wales is 18.
The legislation covers, “any religious or civil ceremony of marriage (whether or not legally binding)” i.e. it includes customary marriages.
The names of the solicitors, Courts and dates have been omitted to prevent jigsaw identification of the children concerned.