How to Apply for a Forced Marriage Protection Order

If you are in immediate danger, please call 999 immediately. A forced marriage is where a marriage takes place under duress, without the full consent of both parties entering into it. Both males and females can be subject to forced marriages, which are illegal under UK law.

A person is unable to consent to marriage if they are below the age of consent to marry and, in the case of a vulnerable adult, lacks the capacity to consent.

Forced marriages are different from arranged marriages as in an arranged marriage, both parties are free to reject the proposed partner.

How does the law set out the offence of a forced marriage?

A person commits an offence if they:

  • use violence, threats or any other form of coercion for the purpose of causing another person to enter into a marriage, and
  • believe, or ought reasonably to believe, that the conduct may cause the other person to enter into the marriage without free and full consent

An offence is also committed if a person:

  • practises any form of deception with the intention of causing another person to leave the UK, and
  • intends the other person to be subjected to conduct outside the UK that is an offence under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, s 121(1) or would be an offence under that subsection if the victim were in England or Wales

What is a Forced Marriage Protection Order (FMPO)?

You can apply for an FMPO if you are being threatened with a forced marriage or already in one.  A FMPO is a form of injunction, which will stop a perpetrator doing certain things to you such as:

  • subjecting you to physical violence
  • making marriage arrangements
  • removing you from the UK
  • contacting you directly or indirectly
  • forbidding you to leave the house

A FMPO can also force the respondent to do certain things such as ensure you attend school and are fed and clothed.

How do I apply for an FMPO?

 Either yourself or a relative or friend can apply for a FMPO on your behalf, and you can still apply if you are under 18 years.

To apply you need to fill in form FL401A if you’re applying for yourself or form FL430 if you’re applying on behalf of someone else.  A solicitor or the Citizen’s Advice Bureau can assist you with filling the forms in.

Once completed, they need to be filed in the Family Court.  You will then receive notice of a hearing date.

The court will provide you with an interpreter if needed as well as support.  Most hearings are done in private.

Can I get a FMPO urgently?

You can get an emergency order (an ‘ex-parte’ or ‘without notice’ order) to protect you immediately without having to involve the respondent.

As well as filling in form FL401A, you will need to write a witness statement outlining why you need the FMPO and why the matter is urgent.

A family solicitor can help you understand the process of applying for a FMPO and assist you in a court hearing.

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