Role of the Register Office

Civil Registration Service

The Civil Registration Service in England and Wales has existed since 1837. Its main purpose is to create accurate and timely records of all Births, Still-births, Deaths, Marriages and Civil Partnerships.

Members of the public are required by law to give information to registration officers in order that they can make records of these vital events. The records are held in registers which form the legal record. Copies of all events are sent to the General Register Office to form a national central archive. These records allow us to produce certificates of Births, Deaths and Marriages for official and legal purposes as well as for genealogy purposes. Civil registration data also proves information about the nation’s health and population through the use of statistics.

The service solemnises marriages in the register office and approved premises and records marriages in some registered buildings. The legal preliminaries to marriage, notice of intention to marry or to form a Civil Partnership, are conducted by the service.

The civil registration service in England and Wales is a partnership between the Registrar General, local authorities and registration officers.

Roles in the Register Office

In the Register Office there are two staff roles, the Superintendent Registrar and the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages. One person is appointed to each role and they have deputies.

Superintendent Registrar (and their deputies) responsibilities;

  • Advise on how to marry or form a Civil Partnership in England & Wales or overseas    
  • Take notices of intention to marry or form a Civil Partnership for forthcoming marriages
  • Issue the authorisations for marriages and Civil Partnerships to take place
  • Conduct civil marriage ceremonies
  • Have local involvement in certification and registration of buildings for religious worship and marriage / Civil Partnership ceremonies
  • Have custody of completed birth, death and marriage registers for the district
  • Issue certificates from registers in their custody

Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages (and their deputies) responsibilities;

  • Register births, still-births, deaths and marriages
  • Issue certificates of births, still-births, deaths, marriages from current registers
  • Issue documents to allow burials or cremations