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New legal age for marriage in England and Wales

14 June 2021 |

It has been reported that the new legal age of marriage is set to be increased to 18 years old in England and Wales.

At present the legal age for marriage is 16-years old and has been that way since 1929. However, there have been fears that some teenagers are being pressured to marry too young.

The government has now announced that it plans to back the new minimum age in order to protect the UK’s younger generation from forced child marriage.

In a letter to organisations campaigning against child marriage, Lord Wolfson, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice, wrote: “The government supports raising the legal age for marriage in England and Wales to protect vulnerable children living here.”

“The bill is committed to making sure children and young people are both protected and supported as they grow and develop in order to maximise their potential life chances. This includes having the opportunity to remain in education or training until they reach the age of 18. Child marriage and having children too early in life can deprive them of these important life chances.”

In an attempt to prevent child marriage in the UK, Savid Javid has announced that he will be introducing a private members bill making it illegal for under 18’s to marry in the coming weeks and is confident that it will become law.

The government continues to work to end child marriage in the developing world and insists that its own laws permitting the marriage of young people not become its own loophole. The bill sees that vulnerable children are not pushed into such serious and life-changing commitments before they are ready.

We are currently not aware of the expected date for the outcome of this bill but will keep a watchful eye on the government’s debate.

 Specialist Family Solicitors

If you require any advice or assistance on this issue, or any other family law query, please contact Louise Kiely by calling 0117 906 9437 or email

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.

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