Marriage and Civil Partnership (Minimum Age) Act 2022
The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Minimum Age) Act 2022 (the 2022 Act) received Royal Assent in April 2022. The Act will raise the age of marriage and civil partnership to 18 in England and Wales to protect children from the scourge of forced marriage.
The Act will come into effect on 27 February 2023; per reg 2 of the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Minimum Age) Act 2022 (Commencement and Transitional Provisions) Regulations 2023 (the 2023 Commencement Regulations).
The 2023 Commencement Regulations also make transitional provision to void marriage and civil partnership schedules (see Marriage Act 1949 s 31), which have been issued before the 2023 Commencement Regulations come into force, where either party will remain under the age of the 18 throughout the validity period of these schedules. Provision is also made to clarify that where marriage and civil partnership schedules have been issued before the 2023 Commencement Regulations come into force, and both parties will be aged 18 during the period of validity of the schedules, the schedules may not be used until both parties have turned 18. Equivalent provision is made for marriages solemnized, and civil partnerships registered, on the authority of a Registrar General’s licence. Replicating provision is made for notices to register as civil partners under the Civil Partnership (Armed Forces) Order 2005, the Civil Partnership (Registration Abroad and Certificates) Order 2005 and the Consular Marriages and Marriages under Foreign Law (No. 2) Order 2014.
The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Minimum Age) Act 2022 (Consequential Amendments) Regulations 2023 (the 2023 Consequential Amendments Regulations) make amendments to secondary legislation consequential on the 2022 Act.
Regulations 3, 4 and 7 make consequential amendments to Orders governing the formation of civil partnership to remove provisions relating to under 18s being able to enter into civil partnership, where the relevant part of the United Kingdom is England and Wales. Regulation 6 makes consequential amendments to remove provision relating to marriages of under 18s where the relevant part of the United Kingdom is England and Wales.
Regulations 5 and 8 make consequential amendments to prescribed forms of notices, licences, schedules and certificates for marriage and civil partnership.
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