Registration of births, deaths and marriages

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The page will automatically redirect to Registeration of Births, Deaths and Marriages Research Briefings produced by the Commons Library, Lords Library and POST

Content published before December 2016

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.

Commons Briefing Papers

19.10.2016Mothers' details on marriage certificates
The Commons Library has published a briefing paper which provides information about reforming marriage registration to include details of the mother of the bride and groom (and not just the father, as at present).
09.06.2016Registration of stillbirth
The Commons Library has published a briefing paper which deals with the registration of stillbirth across the UK. When a baby is stillborn (born dead) after 24 weeks pregnancy, the birth must be registered. However, there is no provision to allow the registration of stillbirths before the 24th week of pregnancy.
25.04.2016Humanist marriage ceremonies
The Commons Library has published a briefing paper which considers the status of humanist marriage ceremonies. Current legislation provides for civil marriage and for religious marriage but not specifically for marriage in accordance with a non-religious system of belief, such as humanism. Calls have been for the law to be changed.
21.03.2016Missing persons, guardianship and the presumption of death
The Commons Library has published a briefing paper which provides information about looking for a missing person and dealing with their property and affairs
09.07.2015Researching ancestry: access to civil registration records
This note deals with current arrangements for access to civil registration information in England and Wales, and with new provisions intended to facilitate different ways of accessing this information in the future.
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.
07.01.2015Marriage 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.
21.04.2010Weddings: Residence Requirements
Weddings: Residence Requirements. By Edward Wood. SN/HA/644.
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.

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 ...


  • Commons Briefing Papers (CBP) Papers providing in-depth and impartial analysis on every major piece of primary legislation and on other topics of public and parliamentary concern. Regular statistics papers are also published.
  • Early Day Motions (EDMs) - formal motions submitted by MPs in the House of Commons
  • POSTnotes (POST PN) - proactive four-page policy briefings from the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology based on reviews of the research literature, interviews with stakeholders and peer review, commissioned by the POST Board
  • Lords Library Notes (LLN) - authored publications by the research section of the House of Lords Library that provide analysis of Bills, subjects for debate in the House and other issues of interest to Members.
  • Select Committee Reports - papers produced by all select committees of both Houses