forced marriage

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A marriage in which one party does not consent to the marriage and there is some element of duress. A clear distinction is drawn by the courts between a forced marriage, which is void under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 s 12(c) and can be annulled by the court, and an arranged marriage, which is lawful. In the latter case families of both spouses play a role in arranging the marriage but the choice whether to accept remains with the individuals (NS v MI [2006] EWHC 1646 (Fam), [2007] 1 FLR 444; P v R (Forced Marriage: Annulment: Procedure) [2003] 1 FLR 661). Until recently the only civil remedy for a victim would be to apply for a non-molestation order or an occupation order under the Family Law Act 1996 or an injunction under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. Victims of forced marriages may now be protected by a marriage protection order made under the Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act 2007. An application for such an order can be made by the victim or a third party, such as a relative or teacher, and it can be directed at anyone involved in forcing or attempting to force a person into a marriage.

Subjects: Law.

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