Bill Essentials – The Marriage (Amendment) Bill, 2012


On October 10, 2012, the Minister of Legal Affairs introduced the Marriage (Amendment) Bill, 2012 to make amendments to the Marriage Act Chapter 45:01.

What is the purpose of the Bill?

The Marriage (Amendment) Bill seeks to amend the Marriage Act Chapter 45:01 by transferring the powers with respect to the issue of marriage licences from the President to the Minister of Legal Affairs.

What are the key features of this proposed legislation?

  • Deletes the word “President” wherever it occurs and replaces it with the word “Minister”
  • Allows the Minister of Legal Affairs to take responsibility for:
  • Authorizing marriage licences
    • The issue of certificates of the Granting the District Registrar or Marriage Officer and the grant of licence to authorize the solemnization of marriages
    • Authorising the District Registrar to issue a certificate to non-resident parties as if the non-resident party had given notice jointly with the resident party and as if the non-resident party met the residential qualification
  • Allows the Registrar General to amend the forms contained in the Schedules of the Marriage Act or prescribe new forms to give effect to the Act
  • Allows the Minister to delegate any of his powers under the Marriage Act to the Registrar General

Important issues for consideration:

  • To some extent, the Bill is simply legislating existing practice. The Minster of Legal Affairs already issues the President’s Licence and exercises the authority which was originally attributed to the President in the Marriage Act.
  • What other practical benefits (or burdens) will the changes to the Act create?

Please take the opportunity to access the Bill via the link below and feel free to submit your comments and concerns to the Parliament.