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Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration etc) Act 2019

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1Marriage registration

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(1)The Secretary of State may, by regulations, amend the Marriage Act 1949 (“the 1949 Act”) to provide for a system whereby details relating to marriages in England and Wales are recorded in documents used as part of the procedure for marriage, and entered into and held in a central register which is accessible in electronic form.

(2)The regulations may, in particular—

(a)provide that a Part 3 marriage may be solemnized on the authority of a single document (a “marriage schedule”) issued by the superintendent registrar for the district in which the marriage is to be solemnized (instead of on the authority of two certificates of a superintendent registrar);

(b)provide that a member of the clergy who is to solemnize a marriage authorised by ecclesiastical preliminaries must, before doing so, issue a document to enable the marriage to be registered (a “marriage document”) or ensure that a marriage document is issued;

(c)make provision in relation to the signing of a marriage schedule or marriage document following the solemnization of the marriage;

(d)make provision in relation to the delivery of a signed marriage schedule or signed marriage document to a registrar;

(e)require the Registrar General to maintain a register of marriages in England and Wales, which is accessible in electronic form (“the marriage register”);

(f)make provision in relation to the entering in the marriage register of the particulars set out in a signed marriage schedule or signed marriage document;

(g)remove existing provision in relation to the registration of marriages which is not to form part of the system provided for under this section.

(3)Where provision made by virtue of subsection (2)(d) gives power to a registrar to require a person to attend personally at the office of a superintendent registrar for the purpose of delivering a signed marriage schedule or signed marriage document, the regulations may provide that a person who fails to comply with such a requirement—

(a)commits an offence, and

(b)is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale.

(4)The regulations may give the Registrar General power to make regulations under section 74(1) of the 1949 Act—

(a)prescribing the form or content of a marriage schedule, marriage document or any other document specified in the regulations;

(b)making provision in relation to corrections to or the re-issue of a marriage schedule or marriage document before the marriage is solemnized;

(c)making provision in relation to the keeping of a signed marriage schedule or signed marriage document after the particulars set out in it have been entered in the marriage register;

(d)making provision in relation to corrections to entries in the marriage register or a pre-commencement marriage register book;

(e)making provision in relation to the keeping of pre-commencement marriage register books;

(f)making provision in relation to the keeping in a church or chapel of records of marriages solemnized according to the rites of the Church of England or the Church in Wales in the church or chapel.

(5)For the purposes of subsection (4), provision in relation to the keeping of a book, document or other record includes, in particular, provision about—

(a)who is to be responsible for keeping the book, document or other record and how it is to be stored;

(b)the circumstances in which the book, document or other record must or may be annotated;

(c)the circumstances in which the book, document or other record must or may be sent to the Registrar General or a superintendent registrar.

(6)No regulations may be made by the Secretary of State under this section after a period of three years beginning with the day on which regulations are first so made.

(7)In this section—

  • “ecclesiastical preliminaries” means the methods of authorisation described in section 5(1)(a), (b) or (c) of the 1949 Act;

  • “marriage document”, “marriage register” and “marriage schedule” have the meanings given by subsection (2)(b), (e) and (a) respectively;

  • “member of the clergy” means a clerk in Holy Orders of the Church of England or a clerk in Holy Orders of the Church in Wales;

  • “Part 3 marriage” means a marriage falling within section 26(1), 26A(1) or 26B(2), (4) or (6) of the 1949 Act;

  • “pre-commencement marriage register book” means any marriage register book in which the particulars of a marriage have been entered under that Act;

  • “registrar” means a registrar of marriages;

  • “Registrar General” means the Registrar General for England and Wales;

  • “superintendent registrar” means a superintendent registrar of births, deaths and marriages.

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