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Following many years of campaigning regarding the forced marriage of 16 & 17-year-olds- you now have to be 18 or over to marry in England & Wales. 

The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Minimum Age) Act came into force last month following a five-year campaign and will prevent 16- and 17-year-olds from marrying or entering a civil partnership, even if they have parental consent.

Campaigners have long argued that a legal loophole allowing 16- and 17-year-olds to marry with parental consent was being exploited to coerce young people into child marriage.

The law makes it illegal to arrange for a child to marry, whether or not force is used and regardless of whether the marriage is religious or legally recognised, with the new criminal offence carrying a sentence of up to seven years in prison. The law, which will not change the age of marriage in Scotland or Northern Ireland, will automatically recognise children married under the age of 18 as victims of forced marriage.