Memorandum by the Solicitor's Office on behalf of the
Registrar General of Births, Deaths and Marriages for Scotland
1997 (S.I. 1997/2348)
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
"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1977, Part IV of the 1965 Act was repealed.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.