Forced Marriages

Forced Marriage Law

If you need legal advice about a forced marriage in Bradford or Keighley then speak to one of our specialists at Williscroft who can provide expert legal advice and help with your case.

What is a forced marriage

A marriage which takes place without the full and free consent of both parties. Force includes pressure by threats or other psychological or emotional pressure. It is different from arranged marriage where couples have free will and choice to marry whom they wish and where families take the lead in organising and arranging the details of the marriage ceremony and celebrations. If you are a victim then our Forced Marriage Lawyers at Williscroft can help you.


Parents often justify their actions by suggesting that by forcing the person to marry they are:

  • Protecting their children
  • Building stronger families
  • Preserving cultural and religious traditions

But, every major faith condemns forced marriages including Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim and Sikh.

Often the marriage is forced due to significant pressure from extended family.

Forced Marriage Law – criminal law

It is an offence to force someone to marry. The police usually take on a safeguarding role when dealing with complaints and will listen to how the victim wishes the matter to be dealt with.

The victim

Someone who is being forced into marriage is often:

  • Isolated
  • Cannot tell anyone
  • If they fear being forced into a marriage they often come to the attention of the police, education welfare, youth workers, social services due to exhibiting various behaviors consistent with distress

Warning signs of a Forced Marriage

  • Withdrawn from education
  • Depression and self harm
  • Often are virtually imprisoned
  • There are excessive restriction and control at home
  • Lack of support by family re education


Advice from the Forced Marriage Unit is that you should never view it as a generational or culture clash that can be solved by mediation. This could be extremely dangerous to the victim.

Forced Marriage Law: The Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act 2007


The Act gives certain courts the power to make a Forced Marriage Protection Order.

This order can contain legally binding conditions and directions that change the behavior of people who are trying to force someone into a marriage.

Emergency Orders can be obtained to put protection in place immediately for victims.

If the order is broken then the perpetrator will be committing a criminal offence and the matter should be reported to the police.

Who can apply

  • A person who is to be protected by the order
  • A relevant third party (someone who is appointed by the Lord Chancellor to make applications on behalf of others).
  • Any other person with permission of the court

Adults or Children can apply (children will need a legal representative or permission of the court).

What if someone is scared to come to court

The court may be able to offer:

  • Separate waiting rooms
  • Separate court entrances and exits
  • Parking in private car park
  • Witness protection facilities
  • Screens when giving evidence
  • Video recorded evidence

To speak to one of our Forced Marriage Lawyers, call Williscroft today, on 01274 305380 to speak to one of our Bradford Solicitors, 01535 600973 to speak to one of our Keighley Solicitors, or email us.

Contracted with the Legal Aid Agency. Regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Reg.No. 67202.

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