Forced Marriage Protection Orders, what are they and who can apply for one?

A marriage should always be someone’s choice, but sometimes people are forced into marriage. In his latest blog for McAlister Family Law, Sereyvudd Pheanouk looks at Forced Marriage Protection Orders and explains who can apply for one.

What is a Forced Marriage?

A forced marriage is where one or both parties do not, or cannot, consent to the marriage.

Forced marriages can occur with anyone from all backgrounds, nationalities, males and females, and does not just happen to young people, but adults as well. Forced marriages are not to be confused with arranged marriages, in which both parties have a say and agree to the union.

Forced Marriage Protection Orders

The Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act 2007 provides the Court the ability to grant Force Marriage Protection Orders (FMPO) to protect the victim from coming into any further harm, in relation to the forced marriage.

An FMPO acts as a deterrent for perpetrators to approach the victim, similar to a non-molestation order or injunction. The purpose of the FMPO is to protect the victim from being forced to marry; however, it can also restrict the perpetrator from doing certain acts such as taking the victim out of the country, making marriage arrangements, contacting the victim directly/indirectly, and it can protect the victim from violence.

Powers of arrest can be attached to the order and if breached, the perpetrator could face imprisonment under contempt of Court.

Who can apply for a FMPO?

You can apply for an FMPO if you are:

  • Being forced into a marriage; or
  • Already in a forced marriage

A relevant third party of any victim with permission from the Court can make an application for a FMPO on their behalf.

Local Authorities can also apply for a FMPO on behalf of the victim if they consider the victim to be vulnerable or under 18.

An FMPO can be made without notice; however, this is on a case by case basis. This means that the respondent will not be notified that an application for an FMPO has been made. The respondent will receive notice once an order has been granted.

There is no court fee for making an application and legal aid is available for applications subject to a means test.

If you or someone you know is affected by the issues raised in this blog post, we can provide you with advice and assist you in applying for an FMPO. For more information, please get in touch with our specialist team at


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