Exceptional circumstances

Exceptional circumstances notice of marriage or civil partnership

The notice of marriage or civil partnership can be different in exceptional circumstances.

Housebound or detained person
As part of our duties we perform marriage or civil partnership ceremonies for housebound or detained persons. Both people planning to get married need to give a notice in the area they live in.

With regard to the housebound or detained person, this may be taken at the place they are resident. If the second party is able, their notice will be taken in the local register office. The couple need to to produce the same documentary evidence and will need to give the same information as for a standard notice. The couple will also need to produce a statement relating to the housebound or detained person.

In the case of a housebound individual a statement must be made by a registered medical practitioner, no more than than 14 days before the date the notice is given.

The statement should show:

  • he or she ought not to be moved from his/her home, hospital or other place where he/she is at that time
  • illness or disability is likely to continue to immobilise that person for at least the three months following the date on which the statement is made.

In the case of a detained person a statement is made by the responsible authority for the place of detention, not more than 21 days before the date the notice is given, that there is no objection to that place being specified in the notice of marriage as the place where that marriage is to take place.

The couple wishing to marry must have these statements before the notice can be taken.

The notice must be given a minimum of 16 days prior to the ceremony. The ceremony venue will be recorded as the current residence of the housebound or detained person.

Terminal illness
Provisions are made to allow a marriage or civil partnership to take place when someone is seriously ill, not expected to recover and cannot be moved to a place where a ceremony would normally take place. This process is referred to as a Registrar General’s Licence.

One of the couple will still need to give a notice to the register office for the area the ceremony will take place in. The register office taking the notice contact the General Register Office to arrange the Registrar General’s Licence. There is no fixed waiting period for a Registrar General’s Licence. Once the licence has been granted, the ceremony may take place at any hour of the day or night, within one month of the notice being taken.

The person giving notice needs to have a medical certificate from the doctor attending the person who is ill.

The certificate must show:

  • the doctor is in medical attendance on the person concerned
  • the person is seriously ill and not expected to recover
  • the person cannot be moved to a place registered for marriages
  • the person understands the nature and reason for the marriage ceremony
  • signed and dated by the doctor and include their qualifications as registered by the General Medical Council.

The party giving notice will still need to provide the following details for themselves and their partner when giving notice:

  • full name 
  • age - the minimum legal age in England and Wales is 16 years of age, but written consent may be needed under 18 years
  • address
  • nationality
  • current status, eg single, divorced
  • occupation
  • intended venue for your marriage or civil partnership

You will be asked for paper evidence to verify some of the information, for example your nationality, your address and your current status.

The evidence you need to give:

  • Passport
  • Proof of address – preferably in the form of a bank statement, council tax bill, driving licence or two utility bills from two separate suppliers.
  • If either person has been married before then we need the Decree Absolute dissolving the previous marriage or the death certificate of the former spouse. If the documents are not in English, you will need to give us a translation.

Once the notice has been completed the registrar will send all the relevant paperwork to the General Register Office to get the Registrar General’s Licence. The registrar will be told immediately if the licence has been given. Then you can start to arrange the ceremony.

If you need more information about organising a ceremony or the Registrar General’s Licence please contact us