Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Justice has placed a ban on marriage of persons under 18 years. Also, the Ministry has set 18 years as the minimum age for marriage.
The Minister of Justice and Chairman of the Supreme Judicial Council, Sheikh Walid Al-Samaani, released the new directive in a circular forwarded to every court in The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Child marriages are rampant in Saudi Arabia with one in seven girls getting married before the age of 18.
According to the Ministry’s directive, any teenager below the age of 18 will henceforth be referred to specialized courts that will determine whether they can marry or not.
The job of these courts is to study the marriage case of each child to ascertain that the future spouse who is under 18 years old will not be harmed as a result of his or her wedding and that the union will be of the best interest to the young child.
The new directive came after an earlier law which bans the marriage of children under 15 years old was released in January 2020. Prior to the January 2020 law, Saudi Arabia never had a minimum legal age for marriage.