Minimum age for marriage to be raised across England and Wales

Date: 3rd May 2022
Category: Protection from abuse or neglect

two wedding rings

The minimum age of marriage has will be raised from 16 to 18. This will also apply to religious and cultural marriages not registered with the couples' local council. Children will not face penalties under the new law, but adults who facilitate their marriage within England and Wales, or abroad could face a fine and up to seven years in jail.

The move follows the passage of the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Minimum Age) Bill by the House of Lords on 26th April 2022. The Bill is now awaiting Royal Assent before it can enter into force.

The current minimum age of marriage in Scotland and Northern Ireland remains at sixteen. Together has called for the minimum age to be increased to 18 in our recent report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.