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Registration of Marriages Regulations 2021

These Regulations amend the Marriage Act 1949 ("the 1949 Act") to provide for a new marriage registration system which will effectively come into force on 4 May 2021.

The Regulations also, in Part 2, amend section 28B of the 1949 Act to specify the evidence that must accompany a notice of marriage where a party to the marriage is a relevant national by virtue of having status, or a pending application for status (within the meaning of regulation 4 of the Citizens' Rights (Application Deadline and Temporary Protection) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020, under the EU Settlement Scheme ("the EUSS"). The EUSS was established by the Government in Appendix EU to the Immigration Rules.

Parts 3 and 4 (and Part 1 of Schedule 1) insert provision in the 1949 Act for a new registration system. The amendments provide that a clergyman solemnizing a marriage after the publication of banns, on the authority of a special licence or on the authority of a common licence must issue a marriage document before solemnizing the marriage. The amendments also provide that any other marriage is only to be solemnized after the superintendent registrar for the registration district in which the marriage is taking place has issued a marriage schedule.

The amendments further provide that following solemnization of the marriage, the marriage document or marriage schedule must be signed and returned to the registrar for the registration district in which the marriage took place. The registrar must then register the marriage by entering particulars into a register, accessible in electronic form. The clergyman will be responsible for returning the marriage document to the registrar and the specified person (as defined in new section 53C(8), inserted by regulation 7) will be responsible for returning the marriage schedule, except in respect of a marriage schedule where the marriage was solemnized by a registrar.

Part 4 revokes provisions in the 1949 Act which required marriages to be solemnized on the issue of two certificates of a superintendent registrar and which required marriages to be registered by a number of different persons.

Part 5 amends the Marriage of British Subjects (Facilities) Act 1915 and the Marriage of British Subjects (Facilities) Amendment Act 1916, so that those Acts will no longer apply in respect of England and Wales.

Part 1 of Schedule 1 contains consequential and related amendments to the 1949 Act. These include creation of a new offence of failing to attend at the office of a registrar after having been given notice to do so for the purpose of returning a signed marriage document or marriage schedule (as the case may be). The amendments also enable the Registrar General to prescribe the form of a marriage document and marriage schedule.

Part 2 of Schedule 1 contains consequential amendments to other primary legislation, including the Marriage (Scotland) Act 1956, the Marriage (Registrar General's Licence) Act 1970 and the Immigration Act 2014.

Part 3 of Schedule 1 contains consequential amendments to secondary legislation.

Schedule 2 contains transitional provisions, to enable a smooth transition to the new registration system.

For the Registration of Marriages Regulations 2021, click here.

11/4/21