Old Enough to Marry? Legal Age Update

August 22nd 2022

Following our Quick Read on 19 November 2021, the Government has announced it plans to implement the change in the legal age for marriage on 27 February 2023. 

27 February 2023 will see the minimum age to marry or enter a civil partnership rise from 16 to 18 years of age. At present, it is possible for 16- and 17-year olds to marry or enter a civil partnership if they have their parents’ or judicial consent. This has been the case since the Ages of Marriage Act 1929. 

The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Minimum Age) Act 2022 comes into force on 27 February 2023. After this date, 16- and 17-years-old will no longer be able marry or enter into civil partnership under any circumstances. 

It will be a criminal offence to cause any child, under the age of 18, to marry or enter civil partnership. It will no longer be a requirement to show coercion in a forced marriage offence. The offence will still be committed even if the marriage ceremony is not legally binding for example, community or cultural ceremonies. 

See the Government’s announcement here.