Government signals support for Private Members Bill to end child marriage

Wednesday 16 June 2021

Naomi Wiseman of Garden Court Chambers has been providing legal advice on the bill to the Girls Not Brides campaign, the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation, Karma Nirvana, Forward UK and the Independent Yemen Group.

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The government has committed to raising the minimum legal age of marriage to 18 in England and Wales in a victory for campaigners. In a letter to campaigners from the Ministry of Justice, shared with the Guardian, it said it was committed to raising the minimum legal age to 18.

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, a 16 and 17 year old can marry with parental consent and in Scotland the minimum marriageable age is 16. Campaigners believe consent can mean coercion.

Sajid Javid, the former Chancellor, has this week introduced a Private Member’s Bill making it illegal for under-18s to marry. The Times has reported that Ministers will give the bill time on the floor of the House of Commons, all but guaranteeing that it will be passed. It is expected to receive cross-party support.

The bill has also been reported in the Telegraph and Good Morning Britain.

To find out more about the campaign and how you can support these organisations, visit the IKWRO and Girls Not Brides websites.

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