Minors (Court Consent to Relationships) Legislation Act 2018

8 Sections 18 to 21 replaced

Replace sections 18 to 21 with:

18 Marriage of persons 16 and 17 years of age

(1)

This section applies if, on the date on which notice of an intended marriage is given under section 23,—

(a)

either party to the intended marriage is aged 16 or 17 years; or

(b)

both parties to the intended marriage are aged 16 or 17 years.

(2)

If this section applies, a Registrar must not issue a marriage licence authorising the intended marriage, or solemnise the marriage, unless a Family Court Judge has, under this section, consented to the intended marriage.

(3)

A party to an intended marriage who is aged 16 or 17 years must apply to the Family Court for a Family Court Judge’s consent to the intended marriage, and a joint application may be made if both parties to the intended marriage are aged 16 or 17 years.

(4)

A Family Court Judge may, on receipt of an application made under subsection (3), consent to the intended marriage only if the Judge is satisfied that, for each party to the intended marriage aged 16 or 17 years,—

(a)

the party has made the application voluntarily, free of undue influence or coercion; and

(b)

the party understands the consequences of the application and wants the Judge to consent to the intended marriage; and

(c)

the intended marriage is in the party’s interests.

(5)

In determining whether the intended marriage is in a party’s interests, the matters the Judge must take into account include, without limitation,—

(a)

the age and maturity of the party; and

(b)

the party’s views; and

(c)

any views of the party’s parents and guardians that can reasonably be ascertained; and

(d)

any other information available to the court relevant to the party’s application.

19 Court may appoint lawyers in proceedings under section 18

(1)

In any proceedings under section 18, the Family Court Judge may appoint a lawyer to represent the applicant if the Judge is satisfied that the appointment is necessary or desirable.

(2)

In any proceedings under section 18, the Family Court Judge may (whether or not an appointment is made under subsection (1))—

(a)

appoint a lawyer to assist the court; or

(b)

direct a Registrar of the court to appoint a lawyer to assist the court.

(3)

The fees and expenses of a lawyer appointed under subsection (1) or (2) must—

(a)

be determined in accordance with regulations made under section 16D of the Family Court Act 1980 or, if no such regulations are made, by a Registrar of the Family Court; and

(b)

be paid in accordance with that determination out of public money appropriated by Parliament for the purpose.

(4)

An invoice for fees and expenses rendered by a lawyer appointed under this section must be given to the Registrar of the court in which the proceedings were heard, and the Registrar may decide to adjust the amount of the invoice.

(5)

If the lawyer is dissatisfied with the decision of the Registrar as to the amount of the invoice, the lawyer may, within 14 days after the date of the decision, apply to a Judge of the court to review the decision, and the Judge may make any order varying or confirming the decision that the Judge considers fair and reasonable.

20 Judge may obtain cultural report

(1)

In any proceedings under section 18, the Family Court Judge may obtain a written cultural report by—

(a)

requesting a person whom the Judge considers qualified for the purpose to prepare one; or

(b)

directing the Registrar to request a person whom the Registrar considers qualified for the purpose to prepare one.

(2)

The court may act under subsection (1) only if satisfied that—

(a)

the information that the report will provide is essential for determining the application; and

(b)

the report is the best source of the information, having regard to the quality, timeliness, and cost of other sources; and

(c)

the proceedings will not be unduly delayed by the time taken to prepare the report; and

(d)

any delay in the proceedings will not have an unacceptable effect on the applicant.

(3)

If the court is entitled by subsection (2) to act under subsection (1) and if the court knows the applicant’s wishes about the obtaining of a report or can speedily ascertain them, the court must have regard to the applicant’s wishes before deciding whether or not to act under subsection (1).

(4)

Fees for the preparation of reports obtained under this section, and reasonable expenses incurred, must—

(a)

be determined in accordance with regulations made under section 16D of the Family Court Act 1980 or, if no such regulations are made, by a Registrar of the court; and

(b)

be paid in accordance with that determination out of public money appropriated by Parliament for the purpose.

(5)

In this section, cultural report means a report that is about the applicant and that covers an aspect or aspects of the applicant’s cultural background, including the applicant’s religious denomination and practice.

21 When marriage is or may be declared void

The grounds on which a marriage is void ab initio are set out in section 31 of the Family Proceedings Act 1980.