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Get a Forced Marriage Protection Order

There are several ways a forced marriage protection order can protect the victims of domestic violence. Find out what documents to use and how to get an emergency order.

FMPO APPLICATION: Forcing someone to marry is a criminal offence in England and Wales. You can get help as the victim of a forced marriage in the United Kingdom.

In the most serious cases, you may need to apply for a forced marriage protection order (FMPO) from the courts. But, one of these must apply:

  • Someone is forcing you to marry (against your will).
  • An abuser is putting you at risk of a forced marriage.
  • You, or someone you know, is being threatened with a forced marriage.

Each case presents a set of individual circumstances. Thus, the court will design the order to protect the victim. That can involve seizing passports or forcing someone to reveal the victim’s whereabouts. In some cases, it may mean stopping someone from taking the victim out of the United Kingdom.

You must follow the correct procedure to get a forced marriage protection order. You will need to check whether you can apply and use the correct application forms (see below). Even though the process is free of charge you will need to attend a hearing.

Anyone in immediate danger should call the police on 999

Emergency Forced Marriage Protection Orders

The court can issue an emergency protection order ‘ex-parte’ if the situation is urgent. That means the protection is in place straight away and without delay. It also means the respondent does not get served any documents (i.e. ‘without notice’).

Download the application titled ‘Form FL401A: Application for a Forced Marriage Protection Order‘. Fill in as much information with as many details as possible.

Writing a Witness Statement

You will need to write a witness statement which must include all the following information:

  • Describe the events of what happened to you by the abuser (e.g. violence used or threatened).
  • Make a written request for the court to make a forced marriage protection order.
  • The reason why the court should issue the application without notifying the respondent (the person you are making the order against).

You must also write a ‘statement of truth’ by adding these words at the bottom of the witness statement:

  • “I believe that the facts stated in this witness statement are true.”

Note: Remember to sign and date the statement of truth and take all the documents to a family court. You may need to search for the right court beforehand.

The Court Decision

Once you apply for a forced marriage protection order the court will consider the circumstances. They will also consider any risk of significant harm for not granting the emergency order. The court will issue their decision after receiving the FMPO application form and written statement.

FMU Help and Support

This type of case would be eligible to get legal aid. You can also contact the Forced Marriage Unit for specialist help and advice.

Forced Marriage Unit
Mail: [email protected]
Telephone: 020 7008 0151
Overseas: +44 (0)20 7008 0151
Monday to Friday: 9am to 5pm
Out of hours: 020 7008 1500 (Global Response Centre)
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Applying for Forced Marriage Protection Order

You can make the FMPO application yourself or other people can get involved in the process, such as:

  • A relative or a friend of the victim.
  • Someone asked to help protect the victim (e.g. a voluntary worker or a third party official).
  • Any other person granted permission by the court.

The UK criminal laws allow anyone to apply for a court order. It can even be a child under the age of 18. As a rule, a child would not need someone to help them if:

  • The family court agrees to it.
  • They have legal representation.

Downloading the Application Forms:

There is a section for you to include details of how to best protect you (e.g. stop someone from taking overseas). The Citizens Advice Bureau can help you fill in the forms.

Attending the Hearing

The court will send you a ‘notice of proceedings’ informing you of the date of your hearing. You must arrange for someone to ‘serve’ a copy of the order and your witness statement to the respondent (the person named in the application). There are several ways to deliver the documents, such as:

Note: As an individual applicant you should not serve the documents by yourself as it may put you in danger.

You must also download and fill in a statement of service form FL415 and deliver it to the court. This paper gives the court details of where and when you served the documents.

The case is usually heard in private when you attend your hearing. There will be a judge and your legal advisers in attendance as well. There are ways to get help when going to court as a victim or witness. Other help available includes:

  • Using separate court entrances, exits, and waiting areas. That means you would not be in the same place as the person you made the order against.
  • Organised protection at the court (e.g. arranging screens around the witness box).
  • The use of video recorded evidence in court allowing a pre recorded interview with the witness.

It is not uncommon for the victim to get asked questions and have to give evidence. But, the court often allows a relative or friend to be with you in court.

Note: If you ask for an interpreter the court will provide one for you. A court interpreter can translate what happens during the hearing. But, they cannot represent you or give you any legal advice.

What the Judge can Decide

The judge will listen to points of view presented by both parties. Following that, the judge can decide any of the following:

  • How to Get a Forced Marriage Protection Order in the United KingdomThey need to get more information about the case from you or from the respondents (or both).
  • To issue a temporary or ‘interim’ order.
  • To make an order which would continue until either the court cancels it or changes it.
  • Get an ‘undertaking’ from the person you applied for an injunction against (e.g. they ‘promise’ to do – or not do – something).

As a rule, you would get a decision about the forced marriage protection order at the hearing. The court would base the action on your individual circumstances. That could mean the order stops your family forcing you into a marriage. The court will provide you with a copy of the order and any other relevant court documents.

After the Court Hearing

In most cases, the court will grant your application for a forced marriage protection order. If so, you must arrange to ‘serve’ a copy (along with any other court documents) on all respondents and any other persons named in the order.

You must also make sure that the police station nearest to your address (unless instructed otherwise) get both of these documents:

  • A copy of the forced marriage protection order issued by the court.
  • A statement from you saying you gave a copy of the order to the respondents and to anyone else named in the order.

Note: You would need to use Form FL403A to ‘vary’ (change or extend) or ‘discharge’ (end) the order.

Appealing a Decision

As a rule, there needs to have been a serious mistake for you to appeal against a decision. You would need to get permission and there may be some costs incurred. You should read the guidance notes on completing form N161 before appealing a decision.

How to Make a Complaint

The HMCTS complaints procedure replaces EX343 leaflet and informs you how to complain about administrative services. Complaints can help make them aware of how to improve. They also welcome your feedback when you experienced an excellent service.

How to Apply for a Forced Marriage Protection Order in the United Kingdom