A forced marriage is a marriage without the consent of one or both parties and where duress is a factor.
If you find yourself or someone you know in this situation, we can help by obtaining a Forced Marriage Protection Order. This order can be made with or without notice to the other parties involved. The order can stop a person from being forced into a marriage against their will.
If you are already married you can seek a Decree of Nullity from the Court to invalidate the marriage. The marriage will be voidable if either party in the marriage did not validly consent to it, whether in consequence of duress, mistake, unsoundness of mind or otherwise.
Refuges are open to victims who have been forced into marriage and victims can also obtain an injunction from the Court if necessary. We will be able to assist you with all of these options.
We have Solicitors available that are fluent in Urdu and Punjabi.
Forced Marriage Protection Order
We will help you to complete the necessary paperwork and when a hearing date is set, the Judge will decide whether to make an order or accept an undertaking from the other party.
If the Court makes an order, it must attach a power of arrest unless it considers this is not necessary. The advantage of a power of arrest is that the police are obliged to arrest the other party and place him or her before the Court should there be any breach of the Order.
The Court can also make orders to hand over passports and to disclose the whereabouts of a victim. A copy of the order is served not only on each party, but also on the police if a power of arrest has been attached.
Any breach of a Forced Marriage Protection Order can result in a fine or a prison sentence of up to two years. If the Court decides not to attach a power of arrest, you can still apply to the Court for the other party’s committal to prison in the event of there being any breach of the Order.
Nullity of Forced Marriage
If you are already married, you can seek a Decree of Nullity from the Court to invalidate the marriage. This process is similar to that of a divorce and our Solicitors can advise you on how to start this process.