You can apply for a forced marriage protection order if one of the following applies:
- you or someone else is being threatened with a forced marriage
- you’re in a forced marriage
The order will be designed to protect you according to your individual circumstances, eg to stop someone taking you out of the UK.
Get a forced marriage protection order
You’ll need to:
- check if you can apply and get the forms
- attend a hearing
You can get an emergency order (an ‘ex-parte’ or ‘without notice’ order) to protect you immediately without the person you’re making the order against being involved in getting the order.
Download and fill in form FL401A.
Write a witness statement. Include all of the following:
- what happened
- that you want the forced marriage protection order to be made
- why the court should deal with the application without notifying the person you’re making the order against
Write the following words at the bottom of your witness statement – this is known as a statement of truth:
“I believe that the facts stated in this witness statement are true.”
Sign and date the statement of truth.
Take your form and statement to a family court.
Get a decision
The court will consider your case, including any risk of significant harm if the order isn’t made immediately.
You’ll get a decision about the order when you take your form and statement to the court.
How to apply
You can apply for a forced marriage protection order yourself or if you’re one of the following:
- relative or friend
- voluntary worker or someone else official who’s been asked for help
- any other person with the permission of the court
Anyone can apply for a court order – even if you’re a child under 18.
Children don’t have to have someone to help them if:
- the court agrees
- they have a legal representative
After you apply
You’ll be sent a ‘notice of proceedings’. It’ll tell you the date of your hearing.
You must arrange for the person named in the application (‘the respondent’) to be given (‘served’) a copy of your application and witness statement. You can:
- ask the court to serve the documents
- get someone else to serve the documents
- serve the documents yourself if this doesn’t put you in danger
Attend the hearing
Your case will usually be heard in private with you, the judge and your legal advisers.
You can get help and support at court.
You can ask for other help including:
- separate entrances, exits and waiting areas so you don’t have to be in the same place as the person you’re making the order against
- protection at court, eg screens around the witness box
Get a decision
The judge may decide:
- that more information is needed
- to make a temporary ‘interim’ order
- to make an order which will continue until it’s cancelled or changed by the court
- that the person you’ve applied for an injunction against must make an ‘undertaking’ (a promise) to do or not do something
You’ll usually get a decision about the order at the hearing based on your individual circumstances, eg you’ll get an order that stops your family forcing you into a marriage.
You’ll get a copy of the order and any other court documents necessary.
After the hearing
You can apply to change or extend (‘vary’) or end (‘discharge’) the order .
You must arrange to give (‘serve’) a copy of the forced marriage protection order (if you get one) and any other court documents on the respondents and any other person named in the order.
You must also give the police both of the following:
- a copy of the order
- a statement saying you’ve given a copy of the order to the respondents and anyone else named in the order
Take the order and statement to the police station nearest to your address unless you’re told otherwise.
Appeal a decision
You may be able to appeal against a decision if you think there’s been a serious mistake. You must get permission and you’ll usually have to pay a fee.