Coercing someone into marriage for financial or societal benefit is illegal. Last April three young women in Sheffield were given Forced Marriage Protection Orders (FMPO), demonstrating that cases of this nature still occur in today’s society in the UK. .
There are various offences that fall under the banner of forced marriage. While it is the family law courts that make the orders such as the FMPO above, when breached it can become a criminal offence.
What is the offence?
It is a serious offence using coercion or deception for the purpose of marriage. Under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act an offence occurs if someone “uses violence, threats or any other form of coercion for the purpose of causing another person to enter into a marriage, and believes… that the conduct may cause the other person to enter into the marriage without free and full consent.”
What are the penalties?
The can be heard before a magistrates’ court or a crown court. It also carries a substantial sentence following a conviction in the Crown Court – up to seven years’ imprisonment being the maximum penalty. Similarly, breaching a forced marriage protection order can now lead to a sentence of up to five years’ imprisonment.
Forced marriage and mental health
These offences inevitably lead to interactions between the law and people’s religious and cultural views. Another aspect is protecting those who are incapable of consenting to marriage because of mental incapacity.
All these factors were considered in the case of Luton BC v B, where a woman was deemed unable to consent to marriage as they lacked capacity and similarly they lacked the capacity to consent to sexual relations, as “the combination of autism and intellectual disability prevents them from making the crucial link between actions and consequences”.
How can Tuckers Solicitors can help you…
To discuss anything to do with forced or coerced marriage please contact us on 020 7388 8333 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will gladly assist.
Our offices are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, ready to deliver immediate and expert legal advice and representation.