Changes to the Law

Tuesday 24th January 2023

As the New Year comes, changes to the law come into effect. A summary of the changes are detailed below. 

What changes to the law are coming into place in 2023?

1. Legal Aid changes to protect individuals receiving cost of living support payments from the Government. 

On 10th January 2023 changes were made to ensure that individuals receiving cost-of-living support payments are not disadvantaged when applying for legal aid. 

These changes will apply to both civil and criminal legal aid.

Payments under the Energy Prices Act 2022 and Social Security (Additional Payments) Act 2022 will be disregarded when calculating an individual’s financial eligibility for legal aid. 

2. Minimum age for marriage raised to 18.

The minimum legal age for marriages and civil partnerships in England and Wales is going to rise to 18. 

Previously, 16 and 17 years olds were able to get married or enter a civil partnership with parental consent. 

From 26th February 2023 16 to 17 year olds will no longer be able to marry or enter a civil partnership under any circumstances.

An individual in England and Wales must be 18 years old and over to get married or enter a civil partnership. 

The new law under the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Minimum Age) Act 2022 will come into effect on 27th February 2023. This new law received the Queen’s approval (Royal Assent) in April 2022.

The purpose of this new law is to protect children from abusive or forced child marriages. 

Under the new law, it will be a criminal offence for adults to facilitate child marriages and penalties may be imposed. Adults could face up to seven years in prison and a fine. This will apply even if the marriages takes place outside of the UK. Children will not receive any penalties.