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Requirements and conditions

Having 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 proceedings.

The premises must be regularly available to the public for use for:

  • The solemnization of marriages or
  • The formation of civil partnerships

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

The premises must not be:

  • Religious premises
  • A register office*, but this paragraph does not apply to premises in which a register office is situated, provided that the room which is subject to approval is not the same room as the room which is the register office.

The room or rooms in which the proceedings are to take place if approval is granted must be identifiable by description as a distinct part of the premises.

*For the meaning of “register office” see the 2004 Act, section 6(3C). Section 6(3C) was inserted into the 2004 Act by paragraph 2(2) of the Schedule to the Civil Partnership (Amendments to Registration Provisions) Order (S.I. 2005/2000). 

The holder of the approval must ensure that there is at all times an individual with responsibility for ensuring compliance with these conditions (“the responsible person”) and that the responsible person’s occupation, seniority, position of responsibility in relation to the premises, or other factors (his “qualification”), indicate that he is in a position to ensure compliance with these conditions.

The responsible person or, in his absence, an appropriately qualified deputy appointed by him, shall be available on the premises for a minimum of one hour prior to and throughout each of the proceedings.

The holder must notify the authority:

  • of his name and address immediately upon him becoming the holder of an approval under regulation 7(2); and
  • of the name, address and qualification of the responsible person immediately upon the appointment of a new responsible person.

The holder must also notify the authority immediately of any change to any of the following:

  • the layout of the premises, as shown in the plan submitted with the approved application, or in the use of the premises;
  • the name or full postal address of the approved premises;
  • the description of the room or rooms in which the proceedings are to take place;
  • the name or address of the holder of the approval; and
  • the name, address or qualification of the responsible person.

The approved premises must be available at all reasonable times for inspection by the authority.

A suitable notice stating that the premises have been approved for the proceedings and identifying and giving directions to the room in which the proceedings are to take place must be displayed at each public entrance to the premises for one hour prior to and throughout the proceedings.

Save as provided below:

  • no food or drink may be sold or consumed in the room in which the proceedings take place for one hour prior to or during those proceedings.
  • non-alcoholic drinks may be consumed prior to the proceedings.

All proceedings must take place in a room which was identified as one to be used for that purpose on the plan submitted with the approved application.

The room in which the proceedings are to take place must be separate from any other activity on the premises at the time of the proceedings.

The arrangements for and content of the proceedings must meet with the prior approval of the Superintendent Registrar of the district, or the registration authority of the area, as the case may be, in which the approved premises are situated.

Any proceedings conducted on approved premises shall not be religious in nature. In particular, the proceedings shall not:

  • include extracts from an authorised religious marriage service or from sacred religious texts;
  • be led by a minister of religion or other religious leader;
  • involve a religious ritual or series of rituals;
  • include hymns or other religious chants; or,
  • include any form of worship.

However, the proceedings may include readings, songs, or music that contain an incidental reference to a god or deity in an essentially non-religious context. For this purpose any material used by way of introduction to, in any interval between parts of, or by way of conclusion to the proceedings shall be treated as forming part of the proceedings.

Public access to any proceedings in approved premises must be permitted without charge.

Any reference to the approval of premises on any sign or notice , or on any stationary or publication, or within any advertisement may state that the premises have been approved by the authority as a venue for marriage in pursuance of section 26(1)(bb) of the 1949 Act and the formation of civil partnerships under section 6(3A)(a) of the 2004 Act but shall not state or imply any recommendation of the premises or its facilities by the authority, the Registrar General or any of the officers or employees of either of them.

If a change of name to the approved premises occurs after the issue of the certificate for marriage or the civil partnership document but before the proceedings, the former name of the approved premises as recorded in the certificate for marriage or the civil partnership document shall remain valid for its duration for the purpose of the proceedings.

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