Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration etc) Bill (HL Bill 158)

A

BILL

TO

Make provision about the registration of marriage; to make provision for the
extension of civil partnerships to couples not of the same sex; to make
provision for a report on the registration of pregnancy loss; to make provision
about the investigation of still-births; and for connected purposes.

Be it enacted by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and
consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present
Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

1 Marriage registration

(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
5for 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
10registrar 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
15document 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
20schedule 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”);

Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration etc) BillPage 2

(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
5which 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
10comply 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
15under 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
20solemnized;

(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
25register 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
30England 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) 35the 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
40a 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;

  • 45“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;

  • Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration etc) BillPage 3

  • “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
    5under 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.

2 10Extension of civil partnership

(1) The Secretary of State may, by regulations, amend the Civil Partnership Act
2004 so that two persons who are not of the same sex are eligible to form a civil
partnership in England and Wales (provided that they would be eligible to do
so apart from the question of sex).

(2) 15The Secretary of State must exercise that power so that such regulations are in
force no later than 31 December 2019.

(3) The Secretary of State may, by regulations, make any other provision that
appears to the Secretary of State to be appropriate in view of the extension of
eligibility to form civil partnerships in England and Wales to couples who are
20not of the same sex.

(4) Regulations under subsection (3) may, in particular, make provision about—

(a) parenthood and parental responsibility of parties to a civil partnership;

(b) the application by a party to a civil partnership for a gender recognition
certificate under the Gender Recognition Act 2004, or the issuing of
25such a certificate, and the consequences of that application or issuing
for the civil partnership;

(c) the financial consequences of civil partnership (for example, in relation
to pensions or social security);

(d) the treatment under the law of England and Wales as civil partnerships
30of similar relationships formed outside the United Kingdom.

(5) The Secretary of State may, by regulations, make provision—

(a) for and in connection with a right to convert a marriage into a civil
partnership (including any provision equivalent or similar to that
contained in or authorised by section 9 of the Marriage (Same Sex
35Couples) Act 2013);

(b) restricting or bringing to an end—

(i) the right to convert a civil partnership into a marriage conferred
by section 9(1) or (2) of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act
2013 (including as it applies or would apply by virtue of
40regulations under this section);

(ii) any right conferred under paragraph (a).

(6) Before making regulations under subsection (5), the Secretary of State must
consult such persons as the Secretary of State considers appropriate.

(7) The Secretary of State may, by regulations, make any provision that the
45Secretary of State considers appropriate in order to protect the ability to act in
accordance with religious belief in relation to civil partnership (including the
conversion of civil partnership into marriage and vice versa).

Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration etc) BillPage 4

(8) Regulations under subsection (3), (5) or (7) may include provision amending,
repealing or revoking primary legislation passed or made before the end of the
Session in which this Act is passed.

(9) In this section—

(a) 5reference to forming a civil partnership in England and Wales includes
reference to registering as civil partners outside the United Kingdom
by virtue of eligibility to do so in England and Wales (in accordance
with section 210(2)(b) or 211(2)(b) of the Civil Partnership Act 2004);

(b) “primary legislation” means—

(i) 10an Act of Parliament;

(ii) an Act or Measure of the National Assembly for Wales;

(iii) a Measure of the Church Assembly or of the General Synod of
the Church of England.

3 Report on registration of pregnancy loss

(1) 15The Secretary of State must make arrangements for the preparation of a report
on whether, and if so how, the law ought to be changed to require or permit the
registration of pregnancy losses which cannot be registered as still-births
under the Births and Deaths Registration Act 1953.

(2) For the purposes of this section, a pregnancy loss occurs when a person’s
20pregnancy ends and, after being parted from the person, the foetus does not
breathe or show any other sign of life.

(3) In the case of a multiple pregnancy, subsection (2) applies as if there were a
separate pregnancy in respect of each foetus.

(4) The Secretary of State must publish the report prepared under this section.

4 25Coroners’ investigations into still-births

(1) The Secretary of State must make arrangements for the preparation of a report
on whether, and if so how, the law ought to be changed to enable or require
coroners to investigate still-births.

(2) For the purposes of this section, “still-births” is to be read in accordance with
30section 41 of the Births and Deaths Registration Act 1953.

(3) The Secretary of State must publish the report prepared under this section.

(4) After the report has been published, the Lord Chancellor may by regulations
amend Part 1 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 (coroners etc) to—

(a) enable or require coroners to conduct investigations into still-births
35(whether by treating still-births as deaths or otherwise);

(b) specify the circumstances in which those investigations are to take
place (including by limiting the duty or power to investigate to certain
descriptions of still-birth);

(c) provide for the purposes of those investigations;

(d) 40make provision equivalent or similar to provision in that Part relating
to investigations into deaths.

(5) The regulations may not—

(a) create any offence, or

(b) confer any power to make provision of a legislative character,

Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration etc) BillPage 5

other than by applying (with necessary modifications), or making equivalent
or similar provision to, provision already contained in Part 1 of the Coroners
and Justice Act 2009.

(6) No regulations may be made under this section after the period of five years
5beginning with the day on which the report is published under subsection (3).

5 Supplementary provision about regulations

(1) The Secretary of State may by regulations—

(a) amend the Marriage of British Subjects (Facilities) Acts 1915 and 1916
so that they no longer apply in England and Wales;

(b) 10make other provision in consequence of regulations under section 1.

(2) The Secretary of State may by regulations make provision in consequence of
regulations under section 2.

(3) The Lord Chancellor may by regulations make provision in consequence of
regulations under section 4.

(4) 15Regulations under subsection (1), (2) or (3) may include provision amending,
repealing or revoking provision made by or under primary legislation
(whenever passed or made).

(5) Regulations under this Act may make—

(a) different provision for different purposes;

(b) 20provision generally or for specific cases;

(c) provision subject to exceptions;

(d) incidental, supplementary, transitional, transitory or saving provision.

(6) Regulations under this Act are to be made by statutory instrument.

(7) A statutory instrument that contains (with or without other provision)—

(a) 25regulations under section 2, or

(b) regulations under any other section of this Act that amend, repeal or
revoke any provision of primary legislation,

may not be made unless a draft of the instrument has been laid before and
approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament.

(8) 30Any other statutory instrument containing regulations under this Act is subject
to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.

(9) In this section “primary legislation” means—

(a) an Act of Parliament;

(b) an Act of the Scottish Parliament;

(c) 35an Act or Measure of the National Assembly for Wales;

(d) Northern Ireland legislation;

(e) a Measure of the Church Assembly or of the General Synod of the
Church of England.

6 Extent, commencement and short title

(1) 40This Act extends to England and Wales only, subject to subsection (2).

(2) Section 5 and this section extend to England and Wales, Scotland and Northern
Ireland.

Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration etc) BillPage 6

(3) This Act comes into force at the end of the period of two months beginning
with the day on which it is passed.

(4) This Act may be cited as the Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths
(Registration etc) Act 2019.