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Marriages and Civil Partnership Licence

 

Guidance to Applicants

Currently Licensed Premises with Tameside Council

Please note: These notes are for guidance only and do not constitute a comprehensive legal interpretation of the legislation and applicants are advised to seek independent legal advice.

Initial Licensing Procedure

The Marriages (Approved Premises) Regulations 1995 allow civil marriages to take place regularly in hotels, stately homes, civic halls and similar premises without compromising the fundamental principles of English marriage law and Parliament's intention to maintain the solemnity of the occasion.

All civil marriages require the prior agreement of the superintendent Registrar. Marriages must take place in readily identifiable premises. This will preclude marriages from taking place in the open air, in a tent, marquee or any other temporary structure and in most forms of transport.

In considering premises for approval, the Local Authority will have regard to their primary use, situation, construction and state of repair. The premises must, in the opinion of the Authority, be a seemly and dignified venue for the solemnization of marriages.

The premises must have the benefit of such fire precautions as may reasonably be required by the Authority, having consulted with the Fire Authority and such other reasonable provision for the health and safety of persons employed in or visiting the premises as the Authority considers appropriate.

The room or rooms in which ceremonies of marriage will be solemnized must be identifiable by description as a distinct part of the premises and be separate from any other activity on the premises at the time of the ceremony.

A room for pre-marriage questioning by the Registrar must be available on the premises. This room must be separate from the room(s) where the marriage ceremony will be solemnized.

Marriages must be solemnized in premises with open doors, which the Registrar general interprets to mean that the public must have unfettered access to witness the marriage and make objections prior to or during the ceremony.

A private house is unlikely to be an appropriate venue for civil marriage. It would not be known to the public as a marriage venue or regularly available for their use.

The primary use of a building would also render it unsuitable for marriages if that use could demean marriage or bring it into disrepute.

The secular nature of civil marriage precludes the use of any building with a recent or continuing religious connection. This effectively rules out any building or room whose description, purpose or appearance is still considered to be linked to religion. A chapel in a stately home and a building containing furniture or fittings associated with a place of religious worship, or which has stained glass windows depicting a religious image, are examples of a continuing religious connection. However, premises in which a religious group meets occasionally may be suitable if the primary use of the premises is secular.

Marriages on approved premises may be followed by a celebration; commemoration or blessing of the couples' choice, providing that it is not a religious marriage ceremony and is separate from the civil ceremony. However, if a religious blessing were to regularly follow marriage ceremonies on particular premises, or be considered part of the service being offered on the premises, there may well be a religious connection, which would breach the requirements and lead to the Local Authority having to consider revoking the approval.

The non-returnable fee for this application must be submitted with the application and other documents, which may be required by the Council.

The application must be made by the proprietor or trustee of the premises. When made on behalf of a limited company, there should be a separate statement of the names and addresses of all the directors.

The Application Procedure is detailed in Appendix 1 to these guidance notes.

Renewal of Approval

The holder may apply for the renewal of an approval when the current approval has between six and twelve months to run. An application for renewal made in this period will extend the current approval until the application has been finally dealt with. A renewal will run from the expiry date of the current approval.

Revocation

The Local Authority may revoke an approval if it is satisfied, after considering any representations from the holder, that the use or structure of the premises has changed so that any of the standard of local requirements cannot be met or the holder has failed to comply with one or more of the standard of local conditions attached to the approval.

The Registrar General may direct the Local Authority to revoke an approval if, in his opinion and after considering any representations from the holder, there have been breaches of the law relating to marriage on the approved premises.

When an approval has been revoked, the regulations requite the former holder to notify any couples who had arranged to marry on the premises.

Reviews

An applicant may seek a review by the Local Authority of its decision to refuse to grant an approval, to attach local conditions, to refuse to renew an approval or to revoke an approval.

The review must be carried out by a different Officer, committee or Sub-Committee than that which made the decision, which is being appealed against. The review panel may confirm the decision, rescind it or vary it with the imposition of fresh or further conditions.

The Local Authority may charge an additional fee for a review of its decision to refuse to grant an approval, to attach local conditions or to refuse to renew an approval. A direction by the Registrar General to revoke an approval is not subject to review by the Local Authority

Registration

Details of approved premises will be held for public inspection by the Local Authority. These details will be copied to the Superintendent Registrar of the district in which the premises are situated and to the Registrar General who will periodically circulate the details to all Superintendent Registrars.

Other Legal Requirements

Guidance for those who wish to marry on approved premises:

There are essential legal requirements to be observed for those who wish to marry on approved premises. All civil marriages require the prior agreement of the Superintendent Registrar.

  • As soon as a couple have made provisional arrangements for their marriage on approved premises, they should be advised to contact the Superintendent Registrar for the district in which the premises are situated at The Register Office, Town Hall, King Street, Dukinfield, SK16 4LA.
  • Without the presence of this Superintendent Registrar (or his deputy) and a Registrar of Marriages, there can be no marriage and any arrangements for the use of the premises depend entirely on their availability. It is, therefore, essential that the couple make an advance booking as soon as a booking can be accepted. A non-refundable deposit of £100 is required at the time of booking. This fee will be deducted from the final fee which is payable one week before the day of the ceremony. Payment can be made by cash or card.
  • Both parties are required to give a notice of marriage (£35.00 each) to the Superintendent Registrar(s) of the district(s) in which they live. Each notice must be given in person but is valid for only 12 months, the couple should, therefore, attend the  Register Office where they live as soon as possible after notice can be given.
  • The couple should be warned that any arrangements made for a marriage to take place on the approved premises ate dependent on:
    • The attendance of the Superintendent Registrar and a Registrar for the district in which the premises are situated; and
    • This issue of the authority or authorities for marriage by the Superintendent Registrar(s) to whom notice of marriage was given
  • When notice is given in a different registration district from the one where the marriage is taking place, the couple will have to collect the authority before the ceremony and ensure that it is delivered to the Registrar who is to attend the ceremony.
  • The couple should be advised that only a civil, non-religious ceremony can be permitted by the Superintendent Registrar. Any music, reading, words or performance, which forms any part of the ceremony, must be secular. The content of the ceremony must be agreed in advance with the Superintendent Registrar who will be attending the ceremony.
  • Any rights of copyright for music, readings, etc permitted at the ceremony are a matter for the couple and the holder of the approval.

Appendix 1

The Application for approval of premises as a venue for marriages may be completed by a proprietor or trustee of the premises.

The Applicant shall submit -

  • A completed application form
  • Three copies of the plan of the premises clearly identifying the room(s) in which marriages will be solemnized if approval is granted. Indicate on the plan the room which will be used by the Registrar for pre-marriage questioning.
  • The appropriate fee. Please note this, fee is non-returnable.
  • Note: The Applicant shall provide the Local Authority with such additional information as it may reasonably require in order to determine the application.
  • The application plans and fee should be sent to the Licensing Office

As soon as practicable after receiving the application, the Local Authority will make the application and plan available to members of the public for inspection at all reasonable hours during the working day until such time that the application has been finally determined or withdrawn.

The applicant must place an advertisement in a local newspaper, which is in general circulation at intervals of not more than one week within the Tameside area.

The public notice shall:

  • Identify the premises and applicant.
  • Indicate the address at which the application and plan accompanying it may be inspected, ie Licensing Office, Ash Road, Droylsden, M43 6QU
  • State that any person may give notice in writing of an objection to the grant of an approval, with reasons for objection, within 21 days from the date on which the newspaper in which the advertisement appears is published, and
  • State the address of the offices of the Local Authority to which such notice of objection shall be given: Licensing Department, Tame Street Depot, Tame Street, Stalybridge, SK15 1ST.

A copy of the published notice must be sent to the Licensing Department, Tame Street Depot, Tame Street, Stalybridge, SK15 1ST.

The Local Authority shall consider any notice of objection arising from the public consultation.

The Local Authority shall write to the Applicant and any person who has given notice of objection of its decision and of any conditions imposed on the licence.

An Applicant who is aggrieved in relation to a decision to refuse an approval or to attach conditions other than those specified - Schedule 2 of the Marriages (Approved Premises) Regulations 1995 may request a review of that decision.

A person requesting a review shall write to the Licensing Department, stating the reasons for the review.

The application for review must be accompanied by the appropriate fee.

The Review will be considered by the Environmental Services (Licensing) Sub-Committee.

The Local Authority will notify the Applicant on the result of the review.

The Local Authority will keep a register of approved premises.

The Register will be available for inspection during normal working hours

Useful Contacts

Marriages (Approved Premises) Regulations 1995 - Schedule of Current Fees

Attendance of the Superintendent Registrar and Registrar of Marriages

  • Cost for attending approved premise £308
  • Please note a non-refundable fee of £100 is required at the time of booking, this will be deducted from the final fee.

The above fees include the cost of 1 Marriage Certificate at £4.00.

Licence for Approved Premises