The administration of individual registration districts is the responsibility of registrars in the relevant local authority. There is also a national body for each jurisdiction. The local offices are generally responsible both for maintaining the original registers and for providing copies to the national body for central retention. A superintendent registrar facilitates the legal preliminaries to marriage, conducts civil marriage ceremonies and retains in his/her custody all completed birth, death and marriage registers for the district. The office of the superintendent registrar is the district Register office, often referred to (wrongly) in the media as the "Registry office".
Today, both officers may also conduct statutory civil partnership preliminaries and ceremonies, citizenship ceremonies and other non statutory ceremonies such as naming or renewal of vows. Certified copies of the entries made by the registrars over the years are issued on a daily basis either for genealogical research or for modern legal purposes such as supporting passport applications or ensuring eligibility for the appropriate junior sports leagues.
On 1st December 2007 Registrars and Superintendent Registrars became employees of their local authority for the first time following the enactment of the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007.
Marriages are registered at the time of the ceremony by either (1) the officiating minister of the Church of England or the Church in Wales, (2) an Authorised Person at a Registered Building, religious, or (3)a registrar at a Register Office, Registered Building or Approved Premise.
The official registers are not directly accessible by the general public. Instead, indexes are made available which can be used to find the relevant register entry and then request a certified copy of the details. Increasingly local indexes are being published on the internet, for example:
The General Register Office for Scotland has overall responsibility for registration administration and drafting legislative changes in this area (as well as census data). They are governed by the Registration of Births, Deaths and Marriages (Scotland) Act 1965 and subsequent legislation (responsibility for which has now been devolved to the Scottish Parliament).
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