The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Minimum Age) Act 2022 was given Royal Assent in April and the date for the Act to come into effect has been announced.
The marriage age law will change on 26 February 2023 and it will mean that 16 to 17-year-olds will not be able to marry or enter a civil partnership under any circumstances even with parental or judicial consent.
This law will impact current conditions around forced marriage as it is currently only seen as an offence if coercion has been used or if a person does not have the capacity to consent to marriage.
With this law, any adult attempting to marry someone under 18 will have committed an offence.
The Act will also apply to cultural or religious marriages that have not been registered with their local council.
It will also expand the offence of forced marriage and become an offence in all circumstances that have an intention to force a child to marry when they are under the age of 18.
The bill was introduced by Conservative MP Pauline Latham as she stated that it will transform many girls’ life chances.
It will not apply to any marriages that have already taken place where one or both people were under 18.
It will also not apply in Scotland and Northern Ireland where the legal age to marry remains at 16.
Parental consent is needed in Northern Ireland but not in Scotland.
For more information on this new law, contact us today.
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