Minimum age for marriage to be raised to eighteen

The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Minimum Age) Act 2022 received Royal Assent on 28th April 2022.  The Act raises the minimum age at which couples in England & Wales can be married or enter into a Civil Partnership from 16 to 18.  

Although 16 and 17 year-olds have always required parental consent to be married, the minimum age is being raised in an attempt to end coercive or abusive child marriages. Campaign groups have long been advocating for the age to be raised to make it harder for children to be pushed into marriages which they do not want and which may negatively affect their futures.

Although the Act has been passed, the Secretary of State is still required to make Regulations to bring the Act into force and to provide for transitional provisions covering any already planned marriages involving minors.  These Regulations have not yet been laid before Parliament and, as yet, we have no information on the likely timescale.

The Act does not affect the recognition of any marriages which have already taken place between minors prior to the passing of the legislation.

May 2022