Marriage Act 1949

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1949 c. 76


Marriage Act , 1949

(12, 13 & 14 Geo. 6) CHAPTER 76

An Act to consolidate certain enactments relating to the solemnization and registration of marriages in England with such corrections and improvements as may be authorised under the Consolidation of Enactments (Procedure) Act, 1949.

[24th November 1949]

Be it enacted by the King's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

I Restrictions on Marriage.

Part I.

Restrictions on Marriage.

S-1 Marriages within prohibited degrees.

1 Marriages within prohibited degrees.

(1) A marriage solemnized between a man and any of the persons mentioned in the first column of Part I of the First Schedule to this Act, or between a woman and any of the persons mentioned in the second column of the said Part I, shall be void.

(2) A marriage solemnized between a man and any of the persons mentioned in the first column of Part II of the said First Schedule, or between a woman and any of the persons mentioned in the second column of the said Part II, shall not be void or voidable by reason only of affinity.

(3) A marriage which by virtue of the last foregoing subsection is not void or voidable if solemnized after the decease of any person shall be void if solemnized during the lifetime of that person.

S-2 Marriages of persons under sixteen.

2 Marriages of persons under sixteen.

2. A marriage solemnized between persons either of whom is under the age of sixteen shall be void.

S-3 Marriages of persons under twenty-one.

3 Marriages of persons under twenty-one.

(1) Where the marriage of an infant, not being a widower or widow, is intended to be solemnized on the authority of a certificate issued by a superintendent registrar under Part III of this Act, whether by licence or without licence, the consent of the person or persons specified in the Second Schedule to this Act shall be required:

Provided that—

(a ) if the superintendent registrar is satisfied that the consent of any person whose consent is so required cannot be obtained by reason of absence or inaccessibility or by reason of his being under any disability, the necessity for the consent of that person shall be dispensed with, if there is any other person whose consent is also required; and if the consent of no other person is required, the Registrar General may dispense with the necessity of obtaining any consent, or the court may, on application being made, consent to the marriage, and the consent of the court so given shall have the same effect as if it had been given by the person whose consent cannot be so obtained;

(b ) if any person whose consent is required refuses his consent, the court may, on application being made, consent to the marriage, and the consent of the court so given shall have the same effect as if it had been given by the person whose consent is refused.

(2) The last foregoing subsection shall apply to marriages intended to be solemnized on the authority of a common licence, with the substitution of references to the ecclesiastical authority by whom the licence was granted for references to the superintendent registrar, and with the substitution of a reference to the Master of the Faculties for the reference to the Registrar General.

(3) Where the marriage of an infant, not being a widower or widow, is intended to be solemnized after the publication of banns of matrimony then, if any person whose consent to the marriage would have been required under this section in the case of a marriage intended to be solemnized otherwise than after the publication of the banns, openly and publicly declares or causes to be declared, in the church or chapel in which the banns are published, at the time of the publication, his dissent from the intended marriage, the publication of banns shall be void.

(4) A clergyman shall not be liable to ecclesiastical censure for solemnizing the marriage of an infant after the publication of banns without the consent of the parents or guardians of the infant unless he had notice of the dissent of any person who is entitled to give notice of dissent under the last foregoing subsection.

(5) For the purposes of this section, ‘the court’ means the High Court, the county court of the district in which any respondent resides, or a court of summary jurisdiction, and rules of court may be made for enabling applications under this section—

(a ) if made to the High Court, to be heard in chambers;

(b ) if made to the county court, to be heard and determined by the registrar subject to appeal to the judge;

(c ) if made to a court of summary jurisdiction, to be heard and determined otherwise than in open court,

and shall provide that, where an application is made in consequence of a refusal to give consent, notice of the application shall be served on the person who has refused consent.

(6) Nothing in this section shall dispense with the necessity of obtaining the consent of the High Court to the marriage of a ward of court.

S-4 Hours for solemnization of marriages.

4 Hours for solemnization of marriages.

4. A marriage may be solemnized at any time between the hours of eight in the forenoon and six in the afternoon.

II Marriage according to Rites of the Church of England.

Part II.

Marriage according to Rites of the Church of England.

Preliminary.

Preliminary.

S-5 Methods of authorising marriages.

5 Methods of authorising marriages.

5. A marriage according to the rites of the Church of England may be solemnized—

a ) after the publication of banns of matrimony
b ) on the authority of a special licence of marriage granted by the Archbishop of Canterbury or any other person by virtue of the Ecclesiastical Licences Act, 1533 (in this Act referred to as a ‘special licence’)
c ) on the authority of a licence of marriage (other than a special licence) granted by an ecclesiastical authority having power to grant such a licence (in this Act referred to as a ‘common licence’); or
d ) on the authority of a certificate issued by a superintendent registrar under Part III of this Act
Marriage by banns.

Marriage by banns.

S-6 Place of publication of banns.

6 Place of publication of banns.

(1) Subject to the provisions of this Act, where a marriage is intended to be solemnized after the publication of banns of matrimony, the banns shall be published—

(a ) if the persons to be married reside in the same parish, in the parish church of that parish;

(b ) if the persons to be married do not reside in the same parish, in the parish church of each parish in which one of them resides:

Provided that if either of the persons to be married resides in a chapelry or in a district specified in a licence granted under section twenty of this Act, the banns may be published in an authorised chapel of that chapelry or district instead of in the parish church of the parish in which that person resides.

(2) In relation to a person who resides in an extra-parochial place, the last foregoing subsection shall have effect as if for references to a parish there were substituted references to that extra-parochial place, and as if for references to a parish church there were substituted references to an authorised chapel of that place.

(3) For the purposes of this section, any parish in which there is no parish church or chapel belonging thereto or no church or chapel in which divine service is usually solemnized every Sunday, and any extra-parochial place which has no authorised chapel, shall be deemed to belong to any adjoining parish or chapelry.

(4) Banns of matrimony may be published in any parish church or authorised chapel which is the usual place of worship of the persons to be married or of one of them although neither of those persons resides in the parish or chapelry to which the church or chapel belongs:

Provided that the publication of banns by virtue of this subsection shall be in addition to and not in substitution for the publication of banns required by subsection (1) of this section.

S-7 Time and manner of publication of banns.

7 Time and manner of publication of banns.

(1) Subject to the provisions of section nine of this Act, banns of matrimony...

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