The following case, heard in Manchester and Salford Magistrates’ court, involved the family of a teenager who was under the protection of a forced marriage protection order and consequently, breached the order by taking her to Pakistan. A forced marriage protection order can be issued for those threatened with forced marriage or already in a forced marriage. The conditions of the order will depend on the circumstances of the individual; a common example is the prevention of them being taken out of the country.
Manchester Family Court issued the forced marriage protection order for the teenager in March 2015. Consequently in July 2015 her parents were detained at Manchester Airport as they were attempting to fly to Pakistan with the girl and other family members.
The parents defended their reason for travelling to Pakistan, claiming it was solely for the teenager to see her dying grandparents. They believed that the order only prevented her from being forced to leave the country and did not realise it also prohibited her leaving of her own free will.
The family’s defence lawyer argued that the mother was not to blame as she was acting on incorrect information issued by social services and the police. District Judge Samuel Gozee accepted this and stated “I don’t believe either of you were deliberately breaching this order and there is evidence before me that there has been almost a breakdown with your understanding and the other agencies… You are now aware that the terms of the forced marriage protection order have not been varied in the way you had believed.”
Despite the argument put forward by the parents, they were fined £250 as well as having to pay £85 costs and a £25 surcharge. Another application for the order to be discharged is expected at the Family Court as they family claim they are a ‘westernised’ family and would subject their daughter to a forced marriage.
For more information on forced marriage orders please visit the GOV website.