Any views expressed within media held on this service are those of the contributors, should not be taken as approved or endorsed by the University, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the University in respect of any particular issue.
Press "Enter" to skip to content

Month: August 2023

Child Marriage: Global trends and future prospects – Part 2

by Katy Macfarlane, Senior Lecturer in Child and Family Law, University of Edinburgh.

In Part 1 of this blog, I examined the work of UNICEF and the UNFPA to end the practice of child marriage by 2030. What has this got to do with Scotland? The majority of the consequences of child marriage that are highlighted in Part 1 do not apply in Scotland – do they? We live in a progressive, child-focussed, child-centred society. We care about children and child protection – don’t we? In Scotland, the average age of the parties to a marriage is mid-30s. The average age that a woman in Scotland gives birth is between the ages of 30 and 34.[1]

Scotland can ably demonstrate that, in setting the legal minimum age for marriage and civil partnership at 16, it has complied with the relevant international human rights conventions. For example, Article 2 of the UN Convention on Consent to Marriage, Minimum Age for Marriage and Registration of Marriages (which the UK ratified in 1970) states that, “States Parties […] shall take legislative action to specify a minimum age for marriage […]”.and it goes on to say that, “No marriage shall be legally entered into by a person under this age”.

Leave a Comment

Child Marriage: Global trends and future prospects – Part 1

by Katy Macfarlane, Senior Lecturer in Child and Family Law, University of Edinburgh.

The minimum age at which a person can marry in Scotland is 16. This is set out in section 1 of the Marriage (Scotland) Act 1977. The consent of a parent is not required.[1] Is a change to the minimum age in the pipeline? There is growing support in Scotland to increase the minimum age for marriage and civil partnership to age 18. This would bring Scots law in line with the law in England and Wales where the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Minimum Age) Act 2022 came into force in February 2023.[2] It would also comply with the repeated recommendations by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child to increase to the minimum age for marriage to age 18.[3]

Why should the Scottish Government take seriously the increasing calls to set a minimum age of 18 for marriage and civil partnership? To address this question, Part 1 of this blog will look beyond Scotland and the UK and take note of the global trends and future prospects for child marriage.

Leave a Comment

Report this page

To report inappropriate content on this page, please use the form below. Upon receiving your report, we will be in touch as per the Take Down Policy of the service.

Please note that personal data collected through this form is used and stored for the purposes of processing this report and communication with you.

If you are unable to report a concern about content via this form please contact the Service Owner.

Please enter an email address you wish to be contacted on. Please describe the unacceptable content in sufficient detail to allow us to locate it, and why you consider it to be unacceptable.
By submitting this report, you accept that it is accurate and that fraudulent or nuisance complaints may result in action by the University.