SCOTS are being asked whether Holyrood's approach to tackling forced marriage should be changed when the UK brings in new legislation.

Scotland has legislated to outlaw force marriage through a system of civil orders, with the issue becoming a criminal law issue only if those were breached.

It was thought this would make it easier for those reporting or complaining about forced marriage to do so as they would not instantly be criminalising relatives. But now Westminster is proposing a UK Bill making it a criminal offence for a person to use violence, threats or any other form of coercion to make another person enter into a marriage without their free and full consent.

Forcing someone to marry is not a criminal offence in Scotland, although individuals or local authorities can apply to a court for a Forced Marriage Protection Order. Any breach of such an order would be contempt of court.

Justice Committee Convener, Christine Grahame MSP said: "This new UK Bill would introduce a new criminal offence of forced marriage into Scotland. We want to hear from stakeholders on whether they think this is an improvement on our current legal situation or not?

"Currently in Scotland a victim or a local authority can apply to the court for a Forced Marriage Protection Order. It may be stakeholders believe that sufficient."

Other parts of the legislative consent motion relate to sexual offenders and devolution of firearms legislation.