Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act 2007

Document Number:2007 CHAPTER 20
 
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An Act to make provision for protecting individuals against being forced to enter into marriage without their free and full consent and for protecting individuals who have been forced to enter into marriage without such consent; and for connected purposes.

[26 th July 2007]

Be it enacted by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

1 Protection against forced marriage: England and Wales

After Part 4 of the Family Law Act 1996 (c. 27) insert—

“Part 4 AForced marriage

Forced marriage protection orders

63 AForced marriage protection orders

(1) The court may make an order for the purposes of protecting—

(a) a person from being forced into a marriage or from any attempt to be forced into a marriage; or

(b) a person who has been forced into a marriage.

(2) In deciding whether to exercise its powers under this section and, if so, in what manner, the court must have regard to all the circumstances including the need to secure the health, safety and well-being of the person to be protected.

(3) In ascertaining that person’s well-being, the court must, in particular, have such regard to the person’s wishes and feelings (so far as they are reasonably ascertainable) as the court considers appropriate in the light of the person’s age and understanding.

(4) For the purposes of this Part a person (“A”) is forced into a marriage if another person (“B”) forces A to enter into a marriage (whether with B or another person) without A’s free and full consent.

(5) For the purposes of subsection (4) it does not matter whether the conduct of B which forces A to enter into a marriage is directed against A, B or another person.

(6) In this Part—

“force” includes coerce by threats or other psychological means (and related expressions are to be read accordingly); and

“forced marriage protection order” means an order under this section.

63 BContents of orders

(1) A forced marriage protection order may contain—

(a) such prohibitions, restrictions or requirements; and

(b) such other terms;

as the court considers appropriate for the purposes of the order.

(2) The terms of such orders may, in particular, relate to—

(a) conduct outside England and Wales as well as (or instead of) conduct within England and Wales;

(b) respondents who are, or may become, involved in other respects as well as (or instead of) respondents who force or attempt to force, or may force or attempt to force, a person to enter into a marriage;

(c) other persons who are, or may become, involved in other respects as well as respondents of any kind.

(3) For the purposes of subsection (2) examples of involvement in other respects are—

(a) aiding, abetting, counselling, procuring, encouraging or assisting another person to force, or to attempt to force, a person to enter into a marriage; or

(b) conspiring to force, or to attempt to force, a person to enter into a marriage.

63 CApplications and other occasions for making orders

(1) The court may make a forced marriage protection order—

(a) on an application being made to it; or

(b) without an application being made to it but in the circumstances mentioned in subsection (6).

(2) An application may be made by—

(a) the person who is to be protected by the order; or

(b) a relevant third party.

(3) An application may be made by any other person with the leave of the court.

(4) In deciding whether to grant leave, the court must have regard to all the circumstances including—

(a) the applicant’s connection with the person to be protected;

(b) the applicant’s knowledge of the circumstances of the person to be protected; and

(c) the wishes and feelings of the person to be protected so far as they are reasonably ascertainable and so far as the court considers it appropriate, in the light of the person’s age and understanding, to have regard to them.

(5) An application under this section may be made in other family proceedings or without any other family proceedings being instituted.

(6) The circumstances in which the court may make an order without an application being made are where—

(a) any other family proceedings are before the court (“the current proceedings”);

(b) the court considers that a forced marriage protection order should be made to protect a person (whether or not a party to the current proceedings); and

(c) a person who would be a respondent to any such proceedings for a forced marriage protection order is a party to the current proceedings.

(7) In this section—

“family proceedings” has the same meaning as in Part 4 (see section 63(1) and (2)) but also includes—

proceedings under the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court in relation to adults;

proceedings in which the court has made an emergency protection order under section 44 of the Children Act 1989 (c. 41) which includes an exclusion requirement (as defined in section 44 A(3) of that Act); and

proceedings in which the court has made an order under section 50 of the Act of 1989 (recovery of abducted children etc.); and

“relevant third party” means a person specified, or falling within a description of persons specified, by order of the Lord Chancellor.

(8) An order of the Lord Chancellor under subsection (7) may, in particular, specify the Secretary of State.

Further provision about orders

63 DEx parte orders: Part 4 A

(1) The court may, in any case where it considers that it is just and convenient to do so, make a forced marriage protection order even though the respondent has not been given such notice of the proceedings as would otherwise be required by rules of court.

(2) In deciding whether to exercise its powers under subsection (1) , the court must have regard to all the circumstances including—

(a) any risk of significant harm to the person to be protected or another person if the order is not made immediately;

(b) whether it is likely that an applicant will be deterred or prevented from pursuing an application if an order is not made immediately; and

(c) whether there is reason to believe that—

(i) the respondent is aware of the proceedings but is deliberately evading service; and

(ii) the delay involved in effecting substituted service will cause serious prejudice to the person to be protected or (if a different person) an applicant.

(3) The court must give the respondent an opportunity to make representations about any order made by virtue of subsection (1).

(4) The opportunity must be—

(a) as soon as just and convenient; and

(b) at a hearing of which notice has been given to all the parties in accordance with rules of court.

63 EUndertakings instead of orders

(1) The court may, subject to subsection (3) , accept an undertaking from the respondent to proceedings for a forced marriage protection order if it has power to make such an order.

(2) No power of arrest may be attached to an undertaking given under subsection (1).

(3) The court may not accept an undertaking under subsection (1) instead of making an order if a power of arrest would otherwise have been attached to the order.

(4) An undertaking given to the court under subsection (1) is enforceable as if the court had made the order in terms corresponding to those of the undertaking.

(5) This section is without prejudice to the powers of the court apart from this section.

63 FDuration of orders

A forced marriage protection order may be made for a specified period or until varied or discharged.

63 GVariation of orders and their discharge

(1) The court may vary or discharge a forced marriage protection order on an application by—

(a) any party to the proceedings for the order;

(b) the person being protected by the order (if not a party to the proceedings for the order); or

(c) any person affected by the order.

(2) In addition, the court may vary or discharge a forced marriage protection order made by virtue of section 63 C(1)(b) even though no application under subsection (1) above has been made to the court.

(3) Section 63 D applies to a variation of a forced marriage protection order as it applies to the making of such an order.

(4) Section 63 E applies to proceedings for a variation of a forced marriage protection order as it applies to proceedings for the making of such an order.

(5) Accordingly, references in sections 63 D and 63 E to making a forced marriage protection order are to be read for the purposes of subsections (3) and (4) above as references to varying such an order.

(6) Subsection (7) applies if a power of arrest has been attached to provisions of a forced marriage protection order by virtue of section 63 H.

(7) The court may vary or discharge the order under this section so far as it confers a power of arrest (whether or not there is a variation or discharge of any other provision of the order).

Arrest for breach of orders

63 HAttachment of powers of arrest to orders

(1) Subsection (2) applies if the court—

(a) intends to make a forced marriage protection order otherwise than by virtue of section 63 D; and

(b) considers that the respondent has used or threatened violence against the person being protected or otherwise in connection with the matters being dealt with by the order.

(2) The court must attach a power of arrest to one or more provisions of the order unless it considers that, in all the circumstances of the case, there will be adequate protection without such a power.

(3) Subsection (4) applies if the court—

(a) intends to make a forced marriage protection order by virtue of section 63 D; and

(b) considers that the respondent has used or threatened violence against the person being protected or otherwise in connection with the matters being dealt with by the order.

(4) The court may attach a power of arrest to one or more provisions of the order...

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