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Louisa Gothard
Louisa Gothard
Senior Solicitor, Head of Family Law
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The married child belongs to no one? Legal recognition of forced marriages and child marriages in the reuniting of families [2014] CFLQ 261
Date:3 JUN 2015
Keywords: Family migration - family reunification - child marriage - forced marriage - freedom to marry - children's rights - transnational families

This article examines the recognition of marriages of minors in the context of migration law, especially in the reuniting of families. The interplaying norms and tensions between migration law, family law and human rights law are examined through a recent case from the Swedish Migration Court of Appeal. This case concerned a 16-year-old Iraqi citizen, A, who had applied for a permit to reside in Sweden, for herself and her 1-year-old daughter, on the grounds of a family bond to Sweden, where A's father resided. A was married, and her marriage was valid according to Iraqi law. The Migration Court of Appeal rejected the two arguments that A presented to support her claim that the marriage should not have been recognised: first, that the marriage should be considered a forced marriage, as her consent to the marriage, for which she had never been asked, was not, de facto, needed to make her marriage valid according to Iraqi law; and secondly, that her marriage should be considered a child marriage, as she was only 15 years old at the time of entering into the marriage.
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