Registration of births, deaths and marriages

This page highlights some of the current parliamentary material available on the registration of births, deaths and marriages. This includes select committee reports, briefing papers on current legislation and other subjects produced by the parliamentary research services, and the latest Early Day Motions put down by MPs.

Standard Notes

21.01.2015Forced marriage
The Anti-social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014 has criminalised both forced marriage and breach of a Forced Marriage Protection Order. This note gives background.
07.01.2015Humanist marriage ceremonies
At present, humanist marriage ceremonies do not have legal force and the parties must have an additional ceremony (for example, at a register office) for the marriage to be legally valid. The British Humanist Association has campaigned for the law to be changed to allow humanist celebrants to conduct legal marriages.
07.01.2015Marriage venues
Marriages must normally take place in a register office; approved premises; a building of the Church of England or the Church in Wales; a building that has been registered for the purposes of religious marriage other than in the Church of England or Church in Wales; or a naval, military or air force chapel. There are various conditions surrounding the couple's choice of venue.
25.11.2014Pre-nuptial agreements
A pre-nuptial (or pre-marital) agreement is an agreement made by a couple before they marry or enter into a civil partnership which sets out how they wish their assets to be divided if they should divorce or have their civil partnership dissolved. Pre-nuptial agreements are not automatically enforceable in courts in England and Wales.
01.05.2014Registration of stillbirth
The birth of a baby who is born alive must be registered, whatever the length of the completed gestation. When a baby is stillborn (born dead) after 24 weeks gestation, the birth must be registered. However, there is no provision to allow the registration of stillbirths before the 24th week of pregnancy. The charity Sands (Stillbirth and neonatal death charity) provides forms of certificate to be offered by health care staff to parents of a baby born before the 24th week of pregnancy who showed no signs of life.

Research Papers

23.01.2009Welfare Reform Bill: disabled people, child maintenance and birth registration
This paper is one of two which examine the main proposals of the Welfare Reform Bill 2008-09. It deals with Parts 2-4 of the Bill, which include provisions for a new right for disabled people to control how public resources are used to meet their needs, new powers to enforce child maintenance, and for the joint registration of births. See also Research Paper 09/08.
17.02.2004Gender Recognition Bill (HL) (Bill 56 2003/04)
The Gender Recognition Bill (HL). (Bill 56 2003/04). House of Commons Library Research Paper 04/15.
19.03.2002Relationships (Civil Registration) Bill and Civil Partnerships Bill (HL) (Bill 36 and HL Bill 41 of 2001-02)
Relationships (Civil Registration) Bill and Civil Partnerships Bill (HL) (Bill 36 and HL Bill 41 of 2001/02). House of Commons Library Research Paper 02/17

Early Day Motions

That this House welcomes increasing interest in genealogy and family history; notes that to get a replicate birth, marriage or death certificate from the General Register Office (GRO) ...
That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that theMarriages and Civil Partnerships (Approved Premises) (Amendment) Regulations 2011(S.I., 2011, No. 2661), dated 3 ...
That this House notes with approval that it has been possible for a full name to be recorded on a still-birth certificate since 1995; further notes that still-births before 24 weeks ...
That this House notes that many Canadian citizens are descendants of British Home Children who were sent to Canada from the early 1870s to the late 1940s; further notes that these descendants ...
That this House notes evidence from the World Health Organisation (WHO) that suggests that nearly 40 per cent. of births worldwide are not registered; further notes that two thirds ...


  • Research Papers (RP) - briefings produced by the House of Commons Library on Bills, topical issues and regular statistics
  • Standard Notes (SN) - shorter, topical briefings from the Commons Library
  • Early Day Motions (EDMs) - formal motions submitted by MPs in the House of Commons
  • POST Notes - short briefing notes produced by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology
  • Lords Library Notes (LLN) - papers compiled by the House of Lords Library on Bills and for debates in the Lords
  • Select Committee Reports - papers produced by all select committees of both Houses