What is a Forced Marriage Protection order


A Forced Marriage Protection Order can help if you are:

  1. being forced into marriage; or
  2. already in a forced marriage.

A Forced Marriage Protection Order is unique to each case and contains legally binding conditions and directions that change the behaviour of a person or persons trying to force someone into marriage. The aim of the order is to protect the person who has been, or is being, forced into marriage. The court can make an order in an emergency so that protection is in place straightaway.

The court can:

  1. Make a Forced Marriage Protection Order to protect a person facing forced marriage or who has been forced into marriage

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Applications for forced marriage protection orders can be made at the same time as a police investigation or other criminal proceedings. Someone who disobeys a court order can be sent to prison for up to two years for contempt of court; but breach of a Forced Marriage Protection Order is also a criminal offence with a maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment.

Where can I apply for an order?

An application for a Forced Marriage Protection Order can be made at the Family Court, which covers England and Wales. You can make these applications at a number of court centres. A list of court centres which deal with these types of applications is at the end of this leaflet.

Who can apply for an order?

  • The person who is to be protected by the order
  • A relevant third party
  • Any other person with the permission of the court.


A Relevant Third Party is someone appointed by the Lord Chancellor to make applications on behalf of others.

Adults or children (those under 18) can apply for a Forced Marriage Protection Order. Children may have a ‘next friend’ or someone to assist them, but do not have to, if they have a legal representative or if the court agrees.