Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Sixteenth Report


APPENDIX II

Memorandum by the Solicitor's Office on behalf of the Registrar General of Births, Deaths and Marriages for Scotland


REGISTRATION OF BIRTHS, STILL-BIRTHS, DEATHS AND MARRIAGES (PRESCRIPTION OF FORMS) (SCOTLAND) REGULATIONS 1997 (S.I. 1997/2348)

MARRIAGE (PRESCRIPTION OF FORMS) (SCOTLAND) REGULATIONS 1997 (S.I. 1997/2349)

  1. This Memorandum is submitted in response to a letter from the Commons Clerk to the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments dated 26 November 1997 requesting a Memorandum on the following point:

    "Explain whether consideration was given to combining these two instruments in a single instrument given that both of them prescribe forms in relation to marriage."

  2. The Regulations consolidate with minor and drafting amendments the existing Registration of Births, Still-Births, Deaths and Marriages (Prescription of Forms) Regulations for Scotland and the Marriage (Prescription of Forms) Regulations for Scotland.

  3. No consideration was given to combining the two instruments. Prior to the enactment of the Marriage (Scotland) Act 1977 part IV of the Registration of Births, Deaths and Marriages (Scotland) Act 1965 set out various provisions in relation to marriage and the registration of marriage. A single instrument prescribed all forms including those in relation to marriage.

  4. In 1977, on the enactment of the Marriage (Scotland) Act 1977, Part IV of the 1965 Act was repealed. The 1977 Act brought together the existing law on the constitution of marriage. It changed the nature of marriage registration documentation from being of formal significance to acquiring substantive effects. In particular, in terms of the 1977 Act the marriage schedule became a crucial document in the constitution of a marriage. It is thought that in consequence of that change it was considered appropriate to prescribe those forms relating to the constitution of marriage in a separate instrument.

  5. From 1977 onwards, therefore, separate regulations have prescribed those forms relating to the regulation of the register (including the forms comprising the marriage register) on the one hand and those forms relating to the constitution of marriage on the other. The 1997 regulations have followed this approach.

  6. Notwithstanding this background, however, the Registrar General on consideration of the question raised by the joint committee can now see some advantage in prescribing in one instrument all the required forms. He will give this serious consideration on the next occasion when the forms need to be prescribed.

December 1997


 
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