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  • Writer's picturePenn Chambers

Family Law | The Legal Age Of Marriage In England And Wales Rises To 18

Updated: Dec 15, 2023

Today (27.02.2023) marks the day when the legal age of marriage in England and Wales rises to 18. The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Minimum Age) Act 2022, which gained Royal Assent in April 2022, has come into force today. It means that 16 and 17 years old will no longer be allowed to marry or enter into a civil partnership, even if they have parental consent. It is now a criminal offence to arrange for a child to be married, whether or not force is used, whereas previously, forced marriage was only an offence if the person used coercion. According to recent figures, the government’s Forced Marriage Unit provided advice or support in 118 cases involving people aged under 18 in 2021. If you are found guilty of arranging a child marriage or as a parent/guardian you failed to protect a child from entering into a marriage, you will face a sentence of up to 7 years in prison. The offence includes forced marriage in non-legally binding ceremonies which include religious/traditional ceremonies. Having had firsthand experience working with victims of domestic abuse and forced marriage, this change needed to happen to protect the human rights of vulnerable children.

Penn Chambers Solicitors 0207 183 2450 The information provided in this article is not intended to constitute professional advice and you should take full and comprehensive legal, accountancy or financial advice as appropriate on your individual circumstances by a fully qualified Solicitor, Accountant or Financial Advisor/Mortgage Broker before you embark on any course of action.

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