I. An overview

The right to marry is a constitutional right provided by Article 37 of the Basic Law which states that “the freedom of marriage of Hong Kong residents and their right to raise a family freely shall be protected by law”.

The minimum age for marriage in Hong Kong is 16. However, if either party is over 16, but still under 21, and is not a widow or widower, written consent to the marriage is required. Although the written consent is usually provided by a parent or guardian ( section 14 and Schedule 3 of the Marriage Ordinance (“MO”), Cap. 181 ), a judge may also give permission if there is no one more appropriate available ( section 18A of the MO ).

Parties are free to marry whoever they choose as long as they are both single at the time of the marriage and of the opposite sex. Therefore, someone may divorce his/her spouse, and then marry another single opposite sex party, or even at some time later remarry his or her original spouse.