MARRIAGES ACT, 1884-1985 (CAP. 127)

MARRIAGES ACT, 1884-1985 (CAP. 127)

DATE OF PRESIDENTIAL ASSENT:

DATE OF GAZETTE NOTIFICATION:

PART ONE

Customary Marriages

1. Registration of customary marriage

On  the  commencement  of  this  Act,  a  marriage  contracted  under  customary  law  before  or  after  the commencement may be registered in accordance with this Act.

2. Application for registration

(1)  Where a marriage is contracted under customary law, either party to the marriage or both parties may  apply  in  writing  to  the  registrar  of  the  district  in  which  the  marriage  was  contracted  for  the registration of the marriage in the register of marriages.

(2)  The application for the registration of the marriage may be made at any time after the marriage, but the Minister responsible for Justice may at any time prescribe the periods within which the failure to register  a  customary  marriage  contracted  before  or  after  the  commencement  of  this  Act  shall  be  an offence.

(3)  The form of the register shall be as set out in the First Schedule.

3. Statutory declaration

(1)  A statutory declaration shall be attached to the application for registration of the marriage stating

(a) the names of the parties to the marriage,

(b) the places of residence of the parties at the time of the marriage, and

(c) that the conditions essential to the validity of the marriage in accordance with the applicable customary law have been complied with.

(2)  The statutory declaration shall be supported by

(a) the parents of the spouses, or

(b) the  persons  standing  in  the  place  of  the  parents  living  at  the  time  of  the  application  for registration.

4. Registrar to register customary marriage

(1)  The Registrar of the district shall, on receipt of an application for the registration of a marriage, register the marriage and shall by notice in the form set out in the Second Schedule notify the public of the registration of the marriage.

(2)  The  notice  shall  be  displayed  on  a  public  notice  board  at  the  office  of  the  Registrar  within twenty-eight days of the application for registration.

5. Objection to registration of customary marriage

(1)  A  person  who  knows  of  a  cause  why  the  Registrar  should  not  have  registered  the  marriage,  or objects  to  the  validity  of  the  marriage  under  the  applicable  customary  law,  may  at  any  time  after  the publication  of  the  notice  under  section  4,  file  the  grounds  of  the  objection  in  the  District  Court  in  the district in which the marriage was registered.

(2)  Copies of the grounds of the objection shall be served on the parties affected by the objection.

(3)  Where, on the hearing of the grounds of objection, the District Court

(a) is  satisfied  that  legal  grounds  have  not  been  established  for  the  objection,  the  Court  shall dismiss the objection; or

(b) is satisfied that there are legal grounds for the objection, the Court shall order the Registrar to expunge the entries made in the register in respect of the registration of the marriage to which the objection was made.

6. Registration of customary divorce

(1)  The dissolution of a marriage registered under this Part shall be recorded by the Registrar of the district in the register of divorces which shall be in the form set out in the Third Schedule.

(2)  Subsection (1) shall not apply to a marriage dissolved under section 41 of the Matrimonial Causes Act, 1971 (Act 367).

7. Registrar to be notified of divorce

(1)  Where  a  marriage  registered  under  this  Part  is  dissolved  in  accordance  with  the  applicable customary law, the parties shall, within the prescribed period, notify the Registrar of the district in which the marriage was registered of the dissolution.

(2)  The parties in notifying the Registrar shall make a statutory declaration stating that the marriage has been dissolved in accordance with the applicable customary law.

(3)  The statutory declaration shall be supported by

(a) the parents of the spouses, or

(b) the persons standing in the place of the parents living at the time of the application.

(4)  The Registrar may, on receipt of the notification, record the dissolution in the register and may by notice in the form set out in the Second Schedule notify the public of the registration of the dissolution of the marriage.

(5)  The  notice  shall  be  displayed  on  a  public  notice  board  at  the  office  of  the  Registrar  within twenty-eight days of the receipt of the notification.

8. Objection

(1)  A person who knows of a cause why the Registrar should not have registered the dissolution of the marriage, or objects to the validity of the dissolution under the applicable customary law, may at any time after the publication of the notice under section 7, file the grounds of the objection in the District Court in the district in which the dissolution was registered.

(2)  Copies of the grounds of objection shall be served on the parties affected by the objection.

(3)  Where, on the hearing of the grounds of objection, the District Court

(a) is  satisfied  that  legal  grounds  have  not  been  established  for  the  objection,  the  Court  shall dismiss the objection; or

(b) is  satisfied  with  the  legal  grounds  for  the  objection,  the  Court  shall  order  the  Registrar  to expunge the entries made in the register in respect of the dissolution of the marriage.

9. Certified copies of entries in register

On the registration of a marriage or the dissolution of a marriage the Registrar shall issue to the parties concerned a certified true copy of the entry in the register on payment of the registration fee prescribed under this Part.

10. Objections to be heard in chambers

The grounds of an objection filed in the District Court under section 5 or 8 shall be heard in chambers.

11. Searches

The Registrar shall at a reasonable time allow a search to be made of the register and shall furnish on request and on payment of the prescribed fee a certified true copy of an entry in the register.

12. Correction of errors in register

(1)  A clerical error in a register may, if discovered at the time of making the entry, be corrected by the Registrar.

(2)  An entry shall not be corrected nor an alteration made in the register except on the application by the person by whom the information is furnished to the registrar.

13. Certified true copies of entries admissible as evidence

In  any  proceedings  a  true  copy  of  the  entry  in  the  register  certified  and  personally  signed  by  the Registrar is admissible in evidence as sufficient proof of the registration of the marriage or the dissolution of the marriage.

14. Offences

A person who

(a) applies to the Registrar for the registration of a customary law marriage or dissolution which that  person  knows  has  not  been  lawfully  contracted  or  dissolved  under  the  applicable customary law,

(b) [Deleted by S.4 of P.N.D.C.L. 263]

(c) knowingly makes a false entry in the register or a certified copy of an entry, or

(d) with intent to defraud alters an entry in the register or certified copy of an entry, commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding seven hundred and fifty penalty  units  or  to  a  term  of  imprisonment  not  exceeding  three  years  or  to  both  the  fine  and  the imprisonment.

15. Application of Intestate Succession Act, 1985

(1)  The Intestate Succession Act, 1985 [P.N.D.C.L. 111] applies to a spouse of a customary law marriage registered under this Act.

(2)  Despite  subsection  (1)  where  a  Court  is  satisfied  by  oral  or  documentary  evidence  that  a customary law marriage had been validly contracted between the deceased and a surviving spouse, the Court  shall  make  an  order  for  the  estate  of  the  intestate  to  be  distributed  in  the  same  manner  as  a customary law marriage registered under this Act.

16. Regulations

The Minister responsible for Justice may, by legislative instrument, make Regulations

(a) prescribing the periods within which customary law marriages contracted before or after the commencement of this Act shall be registered;

(b) prescribing  the  periods  within  which  the  dissolution  of  customary  law  marriages  shall  be registered;

(c) specifying  the  offences  and  the  penalties  for  breach  of  a  provision  of  this  Part  or  of  the Regulations;

(d) prescribing the necessary fees and generally making provision for the full implementation of this Part.

17. Interpretation

In this Part, unless the context otherwise requires,

Court” includes a court of competent jurisdiction and a tribunal;

district”  means  the  area  of  authority  of  a  District  Assembly,  Metropolitan  Assembly  or  a Municipal Assembly;

prescribed” means prescribed under this Part or the Regulations;

register”  means  the  register  kept  by  virtue  of  this  Part  for  the  registration  or  dissolution  of marriages;

registrar” means the registrar of marriages of the district in which a marriage or a dissolution of marriage is registered.

Regulations” means the Regulations made under this Part.

18. Existing by-laws to cease to have effect

On  the  commencement  of  this  Part,  the  by-laws  of  a  District  Council  relating  to  the  registration  of customary marriages and divorces shall cease to have effect and shall be deemed to have been cancelled by this Act.

19. Commencement

Spent.

PART TWO

Marriage of Mohammedans

20. Registrars

(1)  The  district  chief  executive  of  each  district  is  the  Registrar  of  Mohammedan  marriages  and divorces for that district.

(2)  The district chief executive shall keep the Mohammedan marriage and divorce register which shall contain the entries and shall have the counterfoil certificates attached as provided for under this Part.

21. Licence to priest

(1)  The Minister responsible for the Interior may grant a licence in the Form A set out in the Fourth Schedule to a Mohammedan priest applying for the licence, who in the opinion of the Minister is a fit and proper person to perform the functions imposed by this Part on licensed priests.

(2)  The Minister responsible for the Interior may at any time revoke or suspend that licence.

22. Lists of licensed priests

A list of Mohammedan priests who have been licensed under this Part during the quarters ending 31st day of March, 30th day of September, and 31st day of December in every year, or whose licences have been revoked or suspended during any of those quarters shall be published in the Gazette.

23. Registration of Mohammedan marriages

A Mohammedan marriage celebrated after the commencement of this Part shall be registered in the manner provided by section 24.

24. Method of registration

(1)  The  bridegroom,  the  bride’s  wali,  two  witnesses  to  the  marriage,  and  a  Mohammedan  priest licensed under section 21 shall as soon as conveniently may be, and before the expiration of a week after the  celebration  of  the  marriage,  attend  at  the  office  of  the  district  chief  executive  for  the  purpose  of registering the marriage.

(2)  The marriage shall be entered in the register and in the duplicate certificates in the Form B set out in the Fourth Schedule.

(3)  The  licensed  priest  shall  first  enter  in  the  second  column  of  the  register  and  of  the  attached certificates the particulars specified in the first column.

(4)  Where the entries in the second column of the register are made in a language other than English, an English translation made by a person duly sworn to interpret that language shall then be inserted in the third column of the register and of the certificates.

(5)  The register and the certificates shall then be signed by the bridegroom, the brides’ wali, and the two witnesses who have attended for that purpose.

(6)  The licensed priest shall then sign in the register and in both the marriage certificates, a certificate that the marriage is valid according to Mohammedan law.

(7)  The sworn interpreter shall then sign in the register and the marriage certificates the certificate of the correctness of the English translation.

(8)  The register and the certificates shall be completed by the signature of the district chief executive who shall insert the date and place of registration.

(9)  The certificates shall then be detached from the register, and one shall be given to the bridegroom and the other to the bride’s wali.

(10)  A Justice of the High Court, may on an ex parte application by the bridegroom or the bride’s wali, issue a certificate signed personally by the Justice to dispense with the signature of any person, other than a licensed priest,

(a) where the period of one week limited by subsection (1) has lapsed before the registration of a marriage which should have been so registered, or

(b) where it has been impossible or impracticable to obtain the attendance of a person, other than a licensed priest, whose signature of the register is required.

(11)  The  ex  parte  application  shall  be  supported  by  an  affidavit  stating  the  reason  for  the  delay  or non-attendance.

25. Divorces to be registered

A  Mohammedan  divorce  effected  after  the  commencement  of  this  Part  shall  be  registered  in  the manner provided by section 26.

26. Method of registration

(1)  The  man,  the  woman’s  wali,  and  two  witnesses  to  the  divorce  having  been  effected,  and  a Mohammedan  priest  licensed  under  section  21  shall,  within  one  month  of  the  divorce  having  been effected, attend at the office of the district chief executive for the purpose of registering the divorce.

(2)  The divorce shall be entered in the register and in the duplicate certificates in the Form C set out in the Fourth Schedule.

(3)  The  licensed  priest  shall  first  enter  in  the  second  column  of  the  register  and  of  the  attached certificates the particulars specified in the first column.

(4)  Where the entries in the second column of the register are made in a language other than English, and English translation made by a person duly sworn to interpret that language shall then be inserted in the third column of the register and of the certificates.

(5)  The  register  and  the  certificates  shall  then  be  signed  by  the  man,  the  woman’s  wali,  and  two witnesses to the divorce who have attended for that purpose.

(6)  The licensed priest shall then sign in the register and in both the divorce certificates a certificate that the divorce is valid according to Mohammedan law.

(7)  The sworn interpreter shall then sign in the register and the divorce certificates the certificate of the correctness of the English translation.

(8)  The register and the certificates shall be completed by the signature of the district chief executive who shall insert the date and place of registration.

(9)  The certificates shall then be detached from the register, and one shall be given to the man and the other to the woman’s wali.

(10)  A Justice of the High Court may, on an ex parte application by the man or woman’s wali, issue a certificate signed personally by the Justice authorising the district chief executive to register the divorce at any time within one month from the date of the certificate, and on the registration to dispense with the signature of a person, other than a licensed priest,

(a) where a period of one month limited by  subsection (1) has elapsed before the registration of a divorce which should have been so registered, or

(b) where it has been impossible or impracticable to obtain the attendance of a person, other than a licensed priest whose signature of the register is required.

(11)  The  ex  parte  application  shall  be  supported  by  an  affidavit  stating  the  reason  for  the  delay  or non-attendance.

27. Marriages and divorces not valid unless registered

(1)  A  marriage  contracted  or  divorce  effected  after  the  commencement  of  this  Part  by  persons professing the Mohammedan faith is not valid unless registered under this Part.

(2)  A marriage or divorce under this Part when the marriage or divorce is in issue, shall be proved by the production of the register in which the marriage or divorce is entered, or of an extract from the register certified  and  signed  personally  by  the  district  chief  executive  or  of  the  certificate  of  the  marriage  or divorce.

28. Succession by Mohammedan law

On  the  death  of  a  Mohammedan  whose  marriage  has  been  duly  registered  under  this  Part  the succession to the property of that Mohammedan shall be regulated by Mohammedan law.

29. Searches

A  district  chief  executive  shall  allow  searches  to  be  made  at  a  reasonable  time  in  a  register  in  the custody of the district chief executive and shall on request give certified copies of or extracts from entries in English in the register.

30. Fees

For a licence taken out or registration effected under this Part, for a search, and for a certified copy of or extract from, a register, there shall be payable the fee prescribed therefor in the Form D set out in the Fourth Schedule.

31. Application of Act 29

The provisions of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 relating to false declaration shall apply to registers and certificates of marriage and divorce under this Act.

32. Penalty for not signing register or certificate

A person required by section 24 or section 26 who without good cause refuses to sign a register or certificate commits an offence and is liable to a fine not exceeding fifty penalty units.

33. Regulations

The  President  may,  by  legislative  instrument,  make  Regulations  for  further  or  better  carrying  into effect any of the purposes of this Part.

34. Interpretation

In this Part, unless the context otherwise requires,

district chief executive” means the district chief executive of the district in which the marriage is celebrated or the divorce is registered;

divorce” means the irrevocable dissolution of a marriage registered under section 25;

functions” includes powers and duties;

register” means the Mohammedan marriage and divorce register kept by virtue of section 20.

PART THREE

Christian and Other Marriages

35. Constitution of marriage districts

The  President  shall,  by  an  executive  instrument  published  in  the  Gazette,  divide  the  Republic  into districts for the purposes of this Part and may by an executive instrument published in the  Gazette, alter the  marriage  districts,  by  the  alteration  of  boundaries  of  a  district  or  by  the  union  or  subdivisions  of districts, or by the creation of new districts.

36. Appointment of registrars of marriages

(1)  The Minister responsible for the Interior

(a) may appoint a fit and proper person to be the registrar of marriages for each marriage district, and may revoke the appointment, and

(b) may appoint a deputy registrar or deputy registrars of marriages for a district.

(2)  The  Minister  responsible  for  the  Interior  may  appoint  a  deputy  registrar  of  marriages  for  a particular place.

(3)  A  deputy  registrar  of  marriages  has,  within  the  district  or  place  for  which  the  registrar  is appointed, all the powers of a registrar of marriages.

37. Offices of registrars

(1)  A registrar shall have an office at a place in the district as the Minister responsible for the Interior may determine.

(2)  The office of the Principal Registrar shall be at the seat of government.

38. Appointment of marriage officers

(1)  The  Minister  responsible  for  the  Interior  may,  by  executive  instrument,  appoint  a  minister  of religion to be a marriage officer for the marriage district or district named in the instrument, and may in like manner vary or suspend or revoke the appointment.

(2)  An appointment, under subsection (1) shall take effect on publication in the Gazette.

(3)  A minister who is appointed a marriage officer is not compellable to act as a marriage officer with respect to a marriage which is contrary to the rules of the religious denomination to which the Minister belongs.

39. Saving of orders

Spent.

40. Places of worship to be licensed for celebration of marriages

(1)  A district chief executive may license a place of public worship within the district to be a place for the celebration of marriages, and may cancel the licence in a notice published in the Gazette.

(2)  Notice of the licensing under subsection (1) or of the cancellation of the licence shall be published in the Gazette.

(3)  Spent.

(4)  Spent.

41. Authorities for solemnisation of marriage

A marriage may be solemnised under the authority of

(a) a registrar’s certificate,

(b) a marriage officers certificate, or

(c) a special licence from the Registrar.

42. Notice of marriage

Where  after  the  commencement  of  this  Part  any  persons  desire  to  marry  under  the  authority of  a registrar’s certificate, one of the parties to the intended marriage shall sign and give to the registrar of the district in which the marriage is intended to take place, a notice in the following form:

NOTICE OF MARRIAGE

To the registrar of marriages for the district of ..................................................

I hereby give you notice that a marriage is intended to be had within three months from the date of this notice between me the undersigned and the other party named in the notice.

Name

Profession

Condition Occupation,

Rank or

Age Dwelling or Place of Abode Consent, if any, and by whom given
Bridegroom

 

 

Bride …

Bachelor or Widower

 

Spinster or Widow

Boatman, etc. (as case may be)

Washer (as case may be)

23

 

 

18

James Town,

Accra

 

Ussher Town,

Accra

 

 

 

Father

Witness my signature this ............................ day of ...................................., 20............

      …………………………………….                                                               Signature

43. Notice by person unable to write

(1)  Where  the  person  giving  the  notice  is  unable  to  write  or  is  insufficiently  acquainted  with  the English  language,  or  both,  then  it  is  sufficient  if  that  person  places  a  mark  or  cross  to  the  relevant document in the presence of a literate person who shall attest the notice.

(2)  The attestation shall be in the following form:

Signed by .............................. at .................. on the day of ............................, 20........:

this paper, writing, or notice having been first read over to him (her) (or read over and truly interpreted to him (her) in the ................................ language), by ........................, he  (she)  seemed  to  understand  the  same  and  made  his  (her)  mark  thereto  in  my presence.

                                                                         ....................................................................                                                                                                Signed

44. Registrar to supply forms of notice

A registrar shall supply forms of notice gratuitously to persons applying for the forms.

45. Notice to be entered in marriage notice book and published

(1)  On receipt of the notice, the registrar

(a) shall enter the particulars in the marriage notice book, and

(b) shall publish the notice by causing a copy of it to be affixed on the outer door of the office, or on a notice board outside the office, and to be kept exposed there until the grant of the certificate, or until three months have elapsed.

(2)  The marriage notice book may be inspected during office hours without the payment of a fee.

46. Issue of certificate of notice

(1)  The registrar shall, if satisfied that the conditions specified in subsection (2) have been complied with, at any time after the expiration of twenty-one days and before the expiration of three months from the date of the notice, and on payment of the prescribed fee, issue the certificate in the Form A set out in the Fifth Schedule.

(2)   The registrar shall not issue the certificate until satisfied by affidavit

(a) that one of the parties has been resident within the district in which the marriage is intended to be celebrated at least fifteen days preceding the granting of the certificate,

(b) that  each  of  the  parties  to  the  intended  marriage  who  is  not  a  widower  or  widow  is twenty-one years old, or that if that party  is under that age, the requisite consent has been obtained in writing and is annexed to the affidavit,

(c) that an impediment of kindred or affinity, or any other lawful hindrance to the marriage does not exist, and

(d) that neither of the parties to the intended marriage is married under the applicable customary law to a person other than the person with whom the marriage is proposed to be contracted.

(3)  The affidavit may be sworn before the registrar, or before a District Magistrate.

(4)  The registrar or the Magistrate taking the affidavit shall explain to the person making the affidavit what are the prohibited degrees of kindred and affinity, and the penalties which may be incurred under Chapter 6 of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29).

47. Marriage to take place within three months

Where the marriage does not take place within three months after the date of the notice, the notice and all proceedings consequent on the notice are void; and a fresh notice shall be given before the parties can lawfully marry under a registrar’s certificate.

48. Notices for banns

(1)  Where any persons desire to marry under the authority of a marriage officer’s certificate, each of those persons shall, four days at least before the time required for the first publication of the banns of marriage, deliver to a marriage officer for the district in which that person resides, a notice in the Form E set out in the Fifth Schedule.

(2)  Where both persons have for fifteen days previously to giving the notice resided in the same town or village, and are members of the same religious denomination, a single notice in the Form F set out in the Fifth Schedule is sufficient, and banns of marriage need be published only in the place of worship of the religious denomination at that town or village, and one marriage officer’s certificate in the Form J set out in the Fifth Schedule is sufficient authority for the solemnisation of the marriage.

49. Publication of banns

(1)  On the receipt of the notice of intended marriage, the marriage officer

(a) shall,  subject  to  subsection  (3)  of  section  38,  personally  publish  the  banns  of  marriage between the parties named in the notice at the town or village where the person giving the notice  resides,  in  the  place  of  worship  of  the  religious  denomination  to  which  that  person belongs, or

(b) shall cause the banns to be there published by a person duly authorised for the purpose in writing by the marriage officer by endorsement  on the notice in the Form G set out in the Fifth Schedule.

(2)  Where  separate  notices  of  an  intended  marriage  are  required  to  be  given  the  banns  shall  be published separately in respect of each of the notices.

50. Method of publication

(1)  Publication shall be made in the face of the congregation in an audible manner both in English and the  vernacular  at  the  appropriate  time  during  public  divine  service  on  a  Sunday  morning  or  a  Sunday afternoon or evening as appropriate and shall be in the following form:

“I publish the banns of marriage between .............................................................. (name of intended husband) of .................................................... (state place of residence, as in notice) bachelor (or widower), and ................................ (name of intended wife) of .................................................... (state place of residence, as in notice) spinster.

If any of you know cause or just impediment why these two persons should not be joined together in holy matrimony, you are to declare it.

This is for the first (second, or third) time of asking.

(2)  The publication shall be made on three Sundays.

(3)  Where the person authorised to publish the banns is not familiar with the vernacular that person may depute another person to publish the banns in the vernacular, and the banns shall be so published in the vernacular immediately after their publication in English.

51. Endorsement of publication of banns on notice

The person publishing the banns shall endorse the dates of the publications on the notice, in the Form H set out in the Fifth Schedule and where that person is not the marriage officer, that person shall return the notice duly endorsed to the marriage officer.

52. Prohibition of banns

A  person  desiring  to  forbid  a  marriage  by  banns  shall  do  so  in  the  manner  provided  by  section 56.

53. Issue of marriage officer’s certificate

The marriage officer on being satisfied of the due publication of the banns, and if a caveat has not been entered, or if the caveat has been entered but duly removed, shall at any time within three months of the date of the last publication of banns grant to the person by whom the notice of intended marriage has been given, if a separate notice, a marriage officer’s certificate in the Form 1 set out in the Fifth Schedule, or to one of the persons by whom a joint notice of intended marriage has been given, a certificate in the Form J set out in the Fifth Schedule.

54. Marriage not solemnised within three months

Where  the  marriage  is  not  solemnised  within  three  months  of  the  last  publication  of  banns,  the publication  and  all  proceedings  consequent  on  the  publication  are  void,  and  before  the  parties  can  be married by banns, the banns shall be published anew in the manner and form provided, as if the banns had never been published between them.

55. Special licence

(1)  Where the Registrar is satisfied by an affidavit that a lawful impediment to the proposed marriage does  not  exist  and  that  the  necessary  consent  to  the  marriage  has  been  obtained,  the  Registrar  may dispense with the giving of notice, and with the issue of the certificate of the registrar, and may grant the licence,  which  shall  be  in  the  Form  B  set  out  in  the  Fifth  Schedule,  authorising  the  celebration  of  the marriage  between  the  parties  named  in  the  licence  by  a  registrar,  or  by  a  recognised  Minister  of  a religious denomination or body.

(2)  The marriage may be celebrated in a place other than a licensed place of worship or a registrar’s office if the Registrar so authorises.

56. Caveat

(1)  A  person  whose  consent  to  a  marriage  is  required,  or  who  may  know  of  a  just  cause  why  the marriage should not take place, may enter a caveat against the issue of a registrar’s or marriage officer’s certificate,

(a)  where the marriage is to be solemnised under the authority of a registrar’s certificate, at any time before the issue of the certificate,

(i) by writing the word “Forbidden” opposite to  the entry of the notice in the marriage                        notice book, and

(ii) by  appending  to  the  notice  the  name  and  place  of  abode  of  that  person,  and  the grounds on or by reason of which that person claims to forbid the marriage;

(b) where the marriage is to be solemnised under the authority of marriage officers certificates, or one certificate, after publication of banns,

(i) by giving notice in writing to the person publishing the banns to forbid the marriage, and

(ii) by appending the name and place of abode of that person to the notice, and

(iii) by specifying in the notice the grounds on or by reason of which that person claims to forbid the marriage; and  the  person  publishing  the  banns,  if  not  the  marriage  officer,  shall  forward  the  notice without delay to the marriage officer, and shall, unless the notice of the intending marriage had been returned to the marriage officer, record on the notice of intended marriage the fact and date of the receipt of the notice forbidding the marriage.

(2)  A registrar or marriage officer shall not issue the certificate until the caveat is removed.

57. Caveat entered, reference to Court

(1)  Where  a  caveat  is  entered  against  the  issue  of a  registrar’s  or  marriage  officer’s  certificate,  the registrar or marriage officer, shall without delay refer the matter to a Justice of the High Court.

(2)  Where  the  Justice  is  satisfied  that  legal  grounds  do  not  exist  for  forbidding  the  issue  of  the certificate,  the  Justice  shall  remove  the  caveat  in  the  prescribed  manner  without  requiring  any  of  the parties to appear.

(3)  In any other cases the Justice shall summon the parties to the intended marriage and the person by whom the caveat was entered, and shall require the last-named person to show cause why the registrar or marriage officer should not in due course issue the certificate.

(4)  The  case  shall  be  heard  and  determined  in  a  summary  manner,  and  the  Justice  may  award compensation  and  costs  to  the  party  injured,  if  it  appears  that  a  caveat  was  entered  on  insufficient grounds.

58. Removal of caveat

(1)  Where the Justice decides that the certificate ought to issue, the Justice shall remove the caveat,

(a) in the case of a registrar’s certificate, by cancelling the word “Forbidden” in the marriage notice book in ink, and writing in the marriage notice book immediately below that entry and cancellation, the words “Cancelled this .................... ........................................ day of   , 20         , by order of the High Court at ..............,” and signing the book accordingly;

(b) in  the  case  of  a  marriage  officer’s  certificate,  by  a  declaration  personally  signed  by  the marriage officer that the intended marriage is proper and may be solemnised in due course, a certified copy of which declaration shall be forwarded by the registrar of the High Court to the marriage officer by whom the caveat was referred.

(2)  On  the  removal  of  the  caveat,  the  registrar  or  marriage  officer  may  issue  the  certificate  in  due course, and the marriage may proceed as if the caveat had not been entered, but the time that has elapsed between the entering and the removal of the caveat shall not be computed in the period of three months specified in section 45, 46, 47 or 54.

59. Consent to marriage of minors

Where either party to an intended marriage, who is not a widower or a widow, is under twenty-one years of age, the written consent

(a) of the father, or if the father is dead or is of unsound mind or is absent from the Republic, of the mother, or

(b) of the mother, or if the mother is dead or is of unsound mind or is absent from the Republic, of the guardian of that party, shall be produced annexed to the affidavit before a licence can be granted or a certificate issued.

60. Signature of consent by person unable to write

(1)  Where  the  person  required  to  sign  the  consent  is  unable  to  write  or  is  insufficiently acquainted with the English language or both, then that person shall sign the consent by placing a mark or a cross to the consent in the presence of

(a) a Justice of the High Court,

(b) a Magistrate,

(c) a registrar of marriages,

(d) a registrar of a superior court of record,

(e) a Government medical officer or medical officer of the Armed Forces, or

(f) a minister of religion.

(2)  The signature shall be attested by that person and shall be in the following form or as near thereto as may be:

Signed by ...................... at .............. on the .............. day of .............................. , 20........ this  paper,  writing,  or  consent  having  been  first  read  over  (or  read  over  and  truly interpreted) to him (her) in the .......................................................................... language by ................................................................................ he (she) seemed to understand the same, and made his (her) mark thereto in my presence,

Before me,

                                                                                                                           A.B.,                                                                   Justice or Magistrate

61. Consent by a Justice

Where a parent or guardian of a party is not residing in the Republic and capable of consenting to the marriage,

(a) a Justice of the High Court,

(b) the Attorney-General, or

(c) a Magistrate,

may consent to the marriage in writing on being satisfied after due enquiry that the marriage is a proper one, and the consent shall be as effectual as if the father or mother had consented.

62. Marriages in licensed place of worship

(1)  Marriages may be celebrated in a licensed place of worship by a recognised minister of the church, denomination  or  body  to  which  the  place  of  worship  belongs,  and  according  to  the  rites  or  usages  of marriage observed in the church, denomination or body.

(2)  The marriage shall be celebrated, with the doors open between the hours of eight o’clock in the forenoon  and  six  o’clock  in  the  afternoon,  and  in  the  presence  of  two  or  more  witnesses  besides  the officiating minister and any other persons who may wish to attend the celebration.

63. Minister not to celebrate marriage in certain cases

A minister shall not celebrate a marriage knowing of a just impediment to the marriage, nor shall the minister celebrate a marriage until the parties deliver to the minister

(a) a registrar’s certificate, or

(b) two  marriage  officer’s  certificates  in  the  Form  I  in  set  out  in  the  Fifth  Schedule,  one  in respect of each party, or one marriage officer ’s certificate in the Form J set out in the Fifth Schedule, or

(c) the Registrar’s licence.

64. Where minister may celebrate marriage

A  minister  shall  not  celebrate  a  marriage  except  in  a  building  which  has  been  duly  licensed  under section 40 or in a place directed by the Registrar’s licence.

65. Books of certificates

(1)  The Minister shall cause to be printed and delivered to the several registrars, and to the recognised ministers of licensed places of worship, books of marriage certificates in duplicate and with counterfoils in the Form C set out in the Fifth Schedule.

(2)  The  books  shall  be  kept  by  the  several  registrars  and  the  recognised  ministers  of  the  places  of worship, under lock and key, and in the custody of the registrars and ministers respectively, who shall so soon as all the marriage certificates in the book have been used, send the book with the counterfoils duly filed in to the Registrar, who shall preserve the books in the office of the Registrar.

66. Entries to be made in marriage certificate

(1)  Immediately after the celebration of a marriage by a minister, the officiating minister shall make entries in duplicate in the marriage certificate of

(a) the number of the certificate,

(b) the date of the marriage,

(c) the names of the parties, and whether any of them is of full age or a minor,

(d) the names of the parties,

(e) the condition, whether bachelor or widower, spinster or widow, of the parties,

(f) the occupation, rank, or profession of the parties,

(g) the residence at the time of marriage of the parties, and

(h) the father’s or mother’s names, if known, their occupation, if known.

(2)  The  minister  shall  make  the  first  three  entries  and  also  enter  the  names  of  the  witnesses  in  the counterfoil of the certificate.

67. Signature of certificates

(1)  The certificates shall then be signed in duplicate by the officiating minister, by the parties, and by two or more witnesses to the marriage.

(2)  The minister, having also signed the counterfoil, shall sever the duplicate certificate, deliver one certificate to the parties and shall, within seven days after the marriage, transmit the other to the registrar of marriages for the district in which the marriage takes place, who shall file the certificate in the office.

68. Marriage in a registrar’s office

(1)  After  the  issue  of  a  certificate  by  a  registrar  under  section  46  or  section  58,  the  parties  may contract a marriage before a registrar in the presence of two witnesses in the registrar’s office with the doors open, between the hours of eight o’clock in the forenoon and four o’clock in the afternoon on a week-day which is not a public holiday.

(2)  The registrar shall directly or through an interpreter, address the parties thus:

“Do I understand you A.B. and C.D. that you come here for the purpose of becoming husband and wife?”

(3)  On their answering in the affirmative the registrar shall proceed thus:

“Know ye that by the public taking of each other as husband and wife in my presence and in the presence of the persons now here, and by the subsequent attestation thereof by signing your names to that effect, you become legally married to each other, although no other rite of a civil or religious nature shall take place, and that this marriage cannot be dissolved during your lifetime, except by a valid judgment of divorce, and if either of you before the death of the other, shall contract another marriage while this remains undissolved, you will be thereby guilty of bigamy, and liable to the punishment inflicted for that offence.”

(4)  Each of the parties shall then say to the other,

“I call upon all persons here present to witness that I, A. B., do take there, C.D., to be my lawful wife (or husband).”

69. Marriage certificate to be signed

The registrar shall then fill up, and the registrar and the parties and witnesses shall sign the certificate of the marriage in duplicate, and the registrar shall fill up and sign the counterfoil as prescribed in the case of a marriage by a minister, and shall deliver one certificate to the parties and shall file the other in the office.

70. Marriage under Registrar’s licence

Where the Registrar’s licence authorises the celebration of a marriage at a place other than a licensed place  of  worship,  or  the  office  of  a  registrar  of  marriages,  the  registrar  of  the  district  in  which  the marriage is intended to take place, on the production of the licence, shall deliver to the person producing the  licence,  a  blank  certificate  of  marriage  in  duplicate,  and  the  minister  or  registrar  celebrating  the marriage shall fill up the certificate, and observe strictly all the prescribed formalities as to marriages in a licensed place of worship, or registrar’s office.

71. Marriage register book

(1)  The registrar of marriages in each district shall forthwith register in the marriage register book, every  certificate  of  marriage  which  is  filed  in  the  office,  according  to  the  Form  D  set  out  in  the  Fifth Schedule.

(2)  The entry shall be made in order of date from the beginning to the end of the book, and shall be dated on the day on which it is so entered, and shall be signed by the registrar.

(3)  The book shall be indexed in a manner best suited for easy reference.

(4)  The book shall be a record book, and the registrar shall during office hours allow searches to be made,  and  shall  give  certified  copies  from  the  book  on  payment  of  the  fee  mentioned  in  the  Sixth Schedule.

(5)  Within  ten  days  after  the  last  day  of  each  month,  every  registrar  shall  send  to  the  Registrar  a certified  copy  of  all  the  entries  made  during  the  preceding  month  in  the  marriage  register  book  of  the district, and the Registrar shall file the certified copy in the office of the Registrar.

72. Correction of clerical errors in marriage certificates

(1)  A  clerical  error  in  a  certificate  of  marriage  may  be  corrected  by  the  registrar  or  minister performing a marriage, if discovered at the time of the making of the entry.

(2)  A correction or alteration shall not be made in a certificate but a registrar, when authorised by the Minister responsible for the Interior, may correct a clerical error in a certificate of marriage filed in the registrar’s  office,  on  production  of  the  certificate  delivered  to  the  parties,  and  shall  authenticate  the correction by signature or by making the correction with initials and the date of correction.

73. Evidence of marriage

A certificate of marriage which has been filed in the  office of the registrar of a district, or a copy of that certificate purporting to be signed and certified as a true copy by the registrar of the district and an entry in a marriage register book or a certified copy of that entry and a copy of an extract of the records of the  Registrar  relating  to  a  marriage  and  certified  by  the  Registrar  to  be  a  true  copy  of  the  extract  is admissible as evidence of the marriage to which it relates in a Court or before a person having by law or consent of the parties authority to hear, receive and examine evidence.

74. Marriage with deceased wife’s sister or niece lawful

(1)  A marriage may be lawfully celebrated under this Part between a man and the sister or niece of the deceased wife, but a marriage is not valid,

(a) which if celebrated in England, would be void on the ground of kindred or affinity, or

(b) where either of the parties, at the time of the celebration of the marriage, is married under the applicable  customary  law  to  a  person  other  than  the  person  with  whom  the  marriage  is celebrated.

(2)  A marriage is void if both parties knowingly and wilfully acquiesce in its celebration in a place other than the office of a registrar of marriages, or a licensed place of worship, except where authorised by the Registrar’s licence, or under a false name or names, or without the registrar’s certificate of notice, or  the  marriage  officer’s  certificates,  or  one  certificate  when  sufficient  or  licence  duly  issued,  or  by  a person who is not a recognised minister of a religious denomination or body, or a registrar of marriages.

(3)  A marriage  shall  not  after  its  celebration  be  considered  invalid because a provision of this Part other than this section has not been complied with.

75. Marriages under this Part valid

A marriage celebrated under this Part is good and valid in law to all intents and purposes.

76. Customary marriages and this Part

(1)  A person who is married under this Part, or whose marriage before the commencement of this Part is  declared  by  this  Part  to  be  valid,  shall  not  during  the  continuance  of  that  marriage  contract  a  valid marriage under an applicable customary law.

(2)  Unless otherwise provided, this Part does not affect the validity of a marriage contracted under or in accordance with an applicable customary law, or in any manner apply to marriages so contracted.

77. Existing marriages validated

(1)  A  marriage  celebrated  before  the  commencement  of  this  Part  by  a  minister  of  a  religious denomination or body, according to the rites in use by the religious denomination or body is a legal and valid marriage.

(2)  Subsection (1) does not legalise

(a) a  marriage  which  has  before  the  commencement  of  this  Part  been  declared  invalid  by  a Court, nor

(b) a marriage, either party to which had at the time of its celebration a lawful wife or husband living, nor

(c) a marriage which was void by reason of kindred or affinity or fraud or incapacity to contract marriage, nor

(d) a marriage otherwise invalid, either party to which has before the commencement of this Part and in the lifetime of the other party had intermarried with another person.

78. Existing registers of marriages to be transmitted to Principal Registrar

Spent.

79. Expenses to be defrayed from general revenue

Spent.

80. Effect of marriage

(1)  Where  a  person  who  is  subject  to  the  applicable  customary  law  contracts  a  marriage,  whether within  the  Republic  or  elsewhere  in  accordance  with  this  Part  or  of  any  other  enactment  relating  to marriage, or has contracted a marriage prior to the passing of this Part which marriage is validated hereby, and that person dies intestate on or after the 15th day of February, 1909, leaving a widow or husband or any issue of that marriage, and also where a person who is an issue of that marriage dies intestate on or  after  the  said  15th  day  of  February,  1909,  the  personal  property  of  the  intestate,  and  also  the  real property of which that intestate might have disposed by will, shall be distributed or descend in manner following:

(a) two-thirds   in   accordance   with   the   provisions   of  the  law  of  England  relating  to  the distribution of the personal estates of intestates in force on the 19th day of November, 1884, despite the applicable customary law, and

(b) one-third in accordance with the provisions of the applicable customary laws which would have obtained if that person had not been married under this Part.

(2)  For the purposes of subsection (1),

(a) where by the law of England, a portion of the estate of the intestate would become a portion of  the  casual  hereditary  revenues  of  the  Crown,  that  portion  shall  be  distributed  in accordance  with  the  provisions  of  the  applicable  customary  law,  and  shall  not  become  a portion of the casual hereditary revenues; and

(b) the real property, the succession to which cannot by the applicable customary law be affected by   testamentary   disposition,   shall   descend   in   accordance   with   the   provisions   of   the applicable customary law, despite any other provision in this section.

(3)  Where a person dies in the circumstances mentioned in subsections (1) and (2), but on or after the 1st  day  of  December,  1950,  the  property  shall  devolve  on  the  administrator  of  the  deceased  person’s estate  on  trust  to  sell  the  property  and  to  divide  the  proceeds  of  the  sale  in  the  manner  provided  in subsections (1) and (2).

(4)  Before the registrar or a marriage officer issues the certificate in the case of an intended marriage, either  party  to  which  is  a  person  subject  to  the  applicable  customary  law,  the  registrar  or  officer  shall explain  to  both  parties  the  effect  of  these  provisions  as  to  the  succession  to  property  as  affected  by marriage.

81. Legitimation of children born before marriage

(1)  A child born before the intermarriage of the parents under this Part and not procreated in adultery shall on the intermarriage become the lawful issue of a marriage under this Part and is entitled to the same rights and privileges.

(2)  The property of the child shall, in case of intestacy, be subject to the same incidents as though the parents had been at the date of the birth of the child married under this Part.

(3)  The intercourse of a man married under the applicable customary law with an unmarried woman is, for the purposes of this Part, not adultery.

(4)  This section applies to all children both of whose parents were living on the 15th day of February, 1909.

82. Fees

(1)  The fees specified in the Sixth Schedule shall be paid to the registrars for the several matters to which they are applicable, and shall be paid by them into the Consolidated Fund.

(2)  The Minister responsible for the Interior may, where satisfied of the poverty of the parties, reduce the amount of the fees, or remit them altogether; and if they have been paid into the Consolidated Fund, order their refund.

83. Ministers may receive customary fees

This  Part  does  not  preclude  a  minister  from  receiving  the  fees  ordinarily  paid  to  a  minister  of  the minister’s denomination for the celebration of marriage.

84. Forms

The forms contained in the Fifth Schedule may be used in the cases to which they are applicable with the alterations that are necessary.

85. Interpretation

In this Part, unless the context otherwise requires,

Court” means a court of competent jurisdiction;

district” means a marriage district constituted under section 35;

Registrar” means the principal registrar of marriages;

registrar” includes a deputy registrar of marriages.

SCHEDULES

First Schedule

FORM OF REGISTER OF CUSTOMARY MARRIAGES

[Section 2 (3)]

PART A—PARTICULARS OF HUSBAND

PART B—PARTICULARS OF WIFE

Second Schedule

NOTICE OF REGISTRATION OF CUSTOMARY MARRIAGE OR DISSOLUTION

OF CUSTOMARY MARRIAGE

[Sections 4 and 7 (4)]

Third Schedule

FORM OF REGISTER OF DIVORCE

[Section 6]

Fourth Schedule

FORMS

FORM A

LICENCE TO MOHAMMEDAN PRIEST

[Section 21]

FORM B

CERTIFICATE OF MARRIAGE

[Section 24 (2)]

FORM C

CERTIFICATE OF DIVORCE

[Section 26 (2)]

FORM D

FEES

[Section 30]

Fifth Schedule

FORMS

FORM A

REGISTRAR’S CERTIFICATE

[Sections 46 and 84]

FORM B

SPECIAL LICENCE

[Section 55]

FORM C

BOOK OF MARRIAGE CERTIFICATES

[Sections 65 and 66]

FORM D

MARRIAGE REGISTER BOOK

[Section 71 (1)]

FORM E

NOTICE FOR BANNS

[Section 48 (1)]

FORM F

NOTICE FOR BANNS

[Section 48 (2)]

FORM G

AUTHORITY TO PUBLISH BANNS OF MARRIAGE

[Section 49 (1)]

FORM H

ENDORSEMENT OF PUBLICATION OF BANNS

[Section 51]

FORM I

MARRIAGE OFFICER’S CERTIFICATE

[Sections 53 and 63]

FORM J

MARRIAGE OFFICER’S CERTIFICATE

[Sections 48 (2), 53 and 63]

Sixth Schedule

FEES

[Section 71 (4)]

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