The legal status of forced marriages: void, voidable or non-existent

Ruth Gaffney-Rhys

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Two cases recently decided in the Family Division of the High Court of England and Wales illustrate that it is not always possible to prevent a forced marriage from taking place and that a person forced to marry may not be in a position to take action for several years thereafter. In SH v NB [2009] EWHC 3274 (Fam) and B v I [2009] (FLR forthcoming) the High Court indicated that although the victims were statute barred from obtaining an annulment on the basis of duress, the court could nonetheless declare the marriages to be non-existent. This approach is an innovative response to forced marriage which demonstrates that the judiciary in England and Wales endeavours to assist those who have been compelled to marry. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the legal status of a marriage entered into as a result of force and to consider the implications of classifying them as non-existent.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)336-340
    Number of pages5
    JournalInternational Family Law
    Issue numberNovember
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2010


    Dive into the research topics of 'The legal status of forced marriages: void, voidable or non-existent'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this