Ban child marriage: safeguard futures – Counsel

Posted November 20th, 2019 in children, consent, marriage, news by sally

‘Child marriage is ‘any formal marriage or informal union between a child under the age of 18 and an adult or another child’ (UNICEF). Child marriage is not a criminal offence in England and Wales. Children can marry between the ages of 16-17 with parental consent in accordance with s 3 of the Marriage Act 1949. Marriages that take place involving children below the age of 16 are void but they are not criminalised. There is no legal provision currently in place that prevents religious or customary child marriages, at any age, from taking place. Often religious or customary marriages carry even more weight than civil marriages within certain families or communities. Whilst there may only be a minority of civil marriages taking place with parental consent between children from the ages of 16-17 years old, it is unknown how many British children are married abroad and how many religious and customary marriages involving children take place each year.’

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Counsel, November 2019