Forced Marriage

Legal Advice on Forced Marriage

Forced marriage is when you face physical pressure to marry someone (for example you experience threatening, physical violence, or sexual violence). Or emotional and psychological pressure (for example if you’re made to feel like you are causing shame to your family by not marrying someone).


Everybody has a choice and the right to decide who they marry and when they marry. However, if you are forced to marry, this marrying under duress, not willingly marrying someone. Forced marriage can include where someone is overseas and forced to marry.


Forcing Someone To Marry Can Result in a Prison Sentence of up to 7 Years


Forced marriage is illegal in England and Wales, and whether you are currently in a forced marriage or if you are seeking to prevent a forced marriage, you should contact the Forced Marriage Unit in the first instance by calling +44 (0)20 7008 0151.


Forced marriage is classed as a specific offence under section 121 of the Antisocial Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014, which came into effect in 2014. Forcing someone to marry can result in a prison sentence of up to 7 years.


The Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act 2007

This Act inserted provisions into the Family Law Act 1996, enabling courts to make “Forced Marriage Protection Orders” to prevent forced marriages from occurring and to protect those already forced into marriage.


The order can include restrictions, prohibitions, or requirements to protect a victim from space, from the member, or anyone involved. Involvement can include aiding, abetting, counselling, procuring, encouraging, or assisting another person to force or attempt to force a person to marry. Forced Marriage Protection Orders can last for a specified time or if the court so desires, set out the order for an indefinite period, i.e. until varied or discharged. The following people can apply for a Forced Marriage Protection Order:


1) The person who is to be protected by the order;


2) A relevant third party; and any other person with the permission of the court.


3) A relevant third party is someone who is appointed to make applications on behalf of other relevant third parties and could include organisations such as the police and local authorities.


Forced Marriage Protection Order


A Forced Marriage Protection Order is unique to the individual case and includes legally binding conditions that change the behaviour of a person/s  who is trying to force someone to marry. The goal of the order is to protect the person who has been or is being, forced into marrying someone they do not choose to marry.


How we can assist in cases of forced marriages


Efficiency, confidentiality, and sensitivity are all very important when dealing with forced marriage circumstances. Our family law team will work with you to guide you through the legal process.


We deal with the relevant parties, such as the Court of Protection, and we will continue to help you until your case is fully resolved.