Raising the legal minimum age for marriage

Around the world those countries which take child protection seriously have been raising the legal minimum age for marriage to 18. Today that change comes into force here and the legal age of marriage in England and Wales will rise to 18, protecting vulnerable children from the damaging impact of forced marriages.

  • Forced marriage is an abuse of human rights which denies vulnerable children the freedom to learn, grow and thrive.   
  • The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Minimum Age) Act 2022 has come into force today. 16- and 17-year-olds will no longer be allowed to marry or enter a civil partnership, even if they have parental consent. Those who act to manipulate children into marrying under-age will face the full force of the law. 
  • The change will crack down on forced marriages and forms part of our continued commitment to tackle violence against women and girls. 


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