The Government continues to listen carefully to the debate on the legal age of marriage. Justice officials liaise closely with officials in other departments that have an interest in this matter and in forced marriage, which Government made an offence in 2014.
Evidence shows that the number of people marrying in England and Wales at 16 or 17 has been in decline over the years. In 2017, the latest year for which statistics are available, 183 of the people entering 235,910 opposite sex marriages did so at those ages. Primary legislation would be needed to raise the marriageable age to 18 and thereby to remove the existing requirement for parental or judicial consent at 16 or 17. Such changes would not in themselves, however, prevent marriages taking place under 18 outside the ambit of the domestic law.