Family barrister puts forced marriages in the legal spotlight

A leading expert on forced marriages has unravelled some of the legal complexities that surround gaining protection orders for people who are facing physical or emotional pressures to marry someone against their will.

Family law specialist Adreeja Chatterjee, of No5 Barristers’ Chambers, has written a book, A Practical Guide to the Law of Forced and Incapacitous Marriages, which is devoted solely to the subject.

Adreeja, who has more than 20 years’ experience specialising in Court of Protection and Family Law, will officially launch the book on January 23 in Birmingham.

She says the book guides readers through the framework of civil forced marriage protection orders and how they operate from start to finish, including what happens in the event of a breach.

It also gives an overview of the criminal offence and its interaction with the Family Court and the Court of Protection, as well as a detailed practical summary of the law for incapacitated/learning-disabled adults.

Adreeja, who is listed in Legal 500 and a regular speaker on forced and incapacitous marriages, having addressed the UK Association of Women Judges’ Annual Conference on this topic as a guest speaker last year, said: “There has been a greater awareness of such issues now that we are seeing the first convictions for forced marriage since criminalisation was introduced, however it is a hidden practice although prevalent in the UK.

“I wrote the book as a go-to practitioner’s guide on the UK law of forced marriages and how to navigate cases where a person legally lacks capacity to marry.”

Common issues and pitfalls which arise for such adults in forced marriage protection orders in the Family Court and the Court of Protection are also examined and case summaries provided, along with practical scenarios and worked examples of forced and incapacitous marriages. Remedies for forced marriages and marriages which are avoidable due to lack of capacity are also examined.

She added: “It could be described as a niche book, however, while there are other books which might contain a chapter on forced marriages, I believe this may be the only one devoted to the topic.”

Adreeja was inspired to write the book by her experiences of conducting cases which straddle practice areas – for example, where there is a combination of Court of Protection, care and family proceedings and the issues are multi-faceted.

She added: “Practitioners who might be very comfortable dealing with care proceedings might feel less knowledgeable about the Court of Protection side of things, and vice versa.  I felt there was a gap in knowing where to look for authoritative and no-nonsense guidance about the law.  I hope the book fills that gap.  It would also be a good reference guide for front-line social work and health practitioners too.”

A Practical Guide to the Law of Forced and Incapacitous Marriages is available on Amazon and from Wildy & Sons Ltd.

Adreeja Chatterjee is a member of the Family and Court of Protection Groups at No5 Barristers’ Chambers.

To view her profile, visit https://www.no5.com/people/barristers/adreeja-chatterjee/

 

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