The legal age of marriage is 18 years. However, a judge can still consent to the marriage of a minor who is 16 years or older if there is a ‘general interest’ as defined by Sharia court judges.
In extremely rare cases (such as pregnancy) a judge may authorize the marriage of parties below the age of 16 in which case, registration of the marriage is put on hold until the age of 16 is reached.
Instructions for granting permission to marry a minor under 18 years of age have been issued to restrict the judge’s authority in such cases. Regulations also exist for vulnerable women who require care. There are also strict directives that evaluate the benefit of the marriage for both parties and a special committee for the study of these cases.
A girl between the ages of 15 and 18 who marries early has the same rights as an adult with regard to bringing a court case, receiving maintenance, and other marital rights. A legal representation unit has been introduced in courts to represent women and children in case they are unable to plead for themselves and risk losing their rights.