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Forced Marriage Protection Order (“FMPO”)

Date:27 JUN 2022
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What do you do if you want to stop a forced marriage?

What is a forced marriage?

To be able to marry, both parties to the proposed marriage must give their full and free consent.

A forced marriage is a marriage which takes place without full and free consent.

The lack of ability to consent to a marriage is not limited to those who lack the necessary mental capacity to do so.

The Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act 2007 came into force on 25 November 2008. It allows the Family Court to make an FMPO, under section 63A of the Family Law Act 1996,to protect an individual who is being forced into a marriage or already in a forced marriage.

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How to apply for a Forced Marriage Protection Order

An application for an FMPO must be made on form FL701. The application can be made by the following types of applicants:

  • By the Protected Party;
  • A relevant third party; or
  • Somebody on their behalf.

An applicant falling within the category of a ‘relevant third party,’ such as a Local Authority, can make an application on behalf of the Protected Party without needing the leave of the court.

An individual applying on behalf of the Protected Party, and who does not fall within the category of a ‘relevant third party,’ such as a friend, boyfriend or girlfriend of the Protected Party, requires permission from the court to make the application. The Form FL430 must be completed to request permission from the court

Considerations for a Forced Marriage Protection Order

The court must consider the following when deciding whether to and, if so, in what manner, to make an FMPO; all the circumstances, including the need to secure the health, safety and well-being of the Protected Party. When considering the Protected Party’s well-being the court, as considers appropriate in the light of the person’s age and understanding, will have regard to their wishes and feelings, so far as they are reasonably ascertainable.

It is possible to apply for an FMPO in an emergency situation and without needing to give notice of the application to anyone else.

A power of arrest can be attached to an FMPO.

A breach of an FMPO is a contempt of court, carrying a maximum term of imprisonment of up to two years.

Since the enactment of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 a breach of a Forced Marriage Protection Order is also a criminal offence carrying a maximum term of imprisonment of up to five years.