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Justice Committee seeks views on forced marriage

A call for evidence has been issued by the Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee, seeking views on whether Scotland should follow the example of the rest of the UK and make forced marriage a criminal offence or whether the current legal provisions are sufficient.

The call for evidence is the result of UK legislation that is seeking the Scottish Parliament’s consent for the UK Parliament to legislate on the Scottish Parliament’s behalf in the following areas:

  • the enforcement of civil protection orders relating to sexual offenders;
  • the criminalisation of forced marriage;
  • and the functions of Scottish Ministers in relation to firearms offences.

With regards to forced marriage, the Bill makes it a criminal offence for a person to use violence, threats or any other form of coercion for the purpose of causing another person to enter into a marriage without their free and full consent. Currently in Scotland, there is no offence of forced marriage; however breach of a forced marriage protection order (FMPO) is a criminal offence under the Forced Marriage etc (Protection and Jurisdiction) (Scotland) Act 2011.

In connection with Civil Preventative Orders, the Bill seeks to replace three civil orders, used in England and Wales, prescribing the activities of sexual offenders with two new ones. These orders are designed to protect people from harm and while they are imposed by courts in England and Wales, a Legislative Consent Memorandum is required to ensure that any breach of the new orders will be an offence in Scotland.

With regards to the functions of the Scottish Ministers under Firearms Acts, the Bill contains provisions for a new firearms offence of possession for sale or transfer of any prohibited weapon. Consequently, additional functions under section 5 of the Firearms Act 1968 are required to be transferred to Scottish Ministers in relation to the new offences. The Bill will transfer afresh all the Secretary of State’s functions under this section, as amended, to the Scottish Ministers.

Contains Scottish Parliamentary information licensed under the Open Scottish Parliament Licence v1.0.

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