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Forced Marriage Protection

What is a forced marriage?

Section 1 (4) of the Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act 2007 states that "...a person ("A") is forced into a marriage if another person ("B") forces A to enter into a marriage (whether with B or another person) without A’s free and full consent..."

"Force" includes coercion by threats or other psychological means.

In essence, forced marriage is where one or both spouses do not (or, in the case of vulnerable adults, cannot) consent to the marriage and duress is involved. Duress can include physical, psychological, financial, sexual and emotional pressure.

Forced marriage is an abuse of Human Rights and cannot be justified on any religious or cultural basis.

If you feel that you are being forced to marry someone against your will or without your full and free consent, you can obtain a Forced Marriage Protection Order.

The Legal minimum age at which a person can consent to marriage is 16 years with parental consent.

What is a Forced Marriage Protection Order?

It is an order from the court protecting a person from being forced into marriage. It can also protect you if you are already in a forced marriage. A Forced Marriage Protection Order can place numerous conditions/restrictions on a person or people in order to prevent a forced marriage taking place.

The types of conditions/restrictions that a Forced Marriage Protection Order can contain are:

  1. Forbidding a person or persons from forcing a person into a marriage
  2. Forbidding a person or persons from taking a person abroad
  3. Requiring a person to surrender travel documents
  4. Forbidding intimidation, harassment, violence or threats of violence against the person being
    forced into a marriage
  5. Forbidding a person from contacting or attempting to contact the person being forced into marriage

The court can add a power of arrest to a Forced Marriage Protection Order which means that if the person against whom the order is made does any of the things that they are forbidden from doing, they can be arrested by the police and brought back to the Court. If a person has disobeyed a court order, they can be sent to prison.

How can a Forced Marriage Protection Order be obtained?

An application can be made to any County Court in England and Wales and even to the High Court in London. The order can be made in an emergency to give immediate protection to a person being forced into a marriage. It can obtained initially without the knowledge of the person or persons against whom protection is required.

An application for a Forced Marriage Protection Order can be made by:

  • The person who needs to be protected from a forced marriage
  • A Relevant Third Party (Local Authorities can act as a Relevant Third Party)
  • Any other person who has sought permission from the court
  • A judge already involved in court proceedings

Petherbridge Bassra understands how traumatic it can be for a person who finds themselves in this situation. Our team includes experienced multilingual staff who provide a very efficient and confidential service. Legal Aid is also available.

What support is available?

There are many organisations who offer support and advice to those who feel they will be or are being forced into marriage. The list is not exhaustive:

  • Karma Nivana - 0800 5999 247
  • West End Women and Girls - 0191 273 4942
  • Forced Marriage Unit - 0207 008 0151

What if I have a Forced Marriage Protection order against me?

We also represent clients who have orders obtained against them. If you have been served with a Forced Marriage Protection Order, you should seek legal advice immediately.

Vintry House, 18-24 Piccadilly, Bradford
Tel: 01274 724114 Fax: 01274 724161
mail@petherbridgebassra.com

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