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Marriage Law News

August 2018

Fees for Special Marriage Licences The fee for a Special Marriage Licence will increase to £325 with effect from the 1st August 2018.

January 2016

New Parochial Fees for 2016: Parochial Fees (which include those for marriages in parish churches) have changed from 1st January 2016. The new Fees table can be found here. Full details are available on the Church of England’s website page on Parochial Fees .

Fees for Marriage Licences: The fees for Common and Special Marriage Licences are subject to change on 1st April each year.

Until 31st March 2016 the Special Licence fee remains £310. The Common Licence fee is specified by each individual Diocese.

April 2015

Updated marriage law guidance for the clergy has been issued by the Faculty Office:
The Second Supplement from the Faculty Office has now been issued. This Supplement is intended to be read alongside the 3rd edition of the Faculty Office marriage guide booklet and the July 2013 First Supplement. It provides an important update to those areas where there have been changes in the law since July 2013, especially on the topic of marriages of non-European nationals in the Church of England. The Supplement is available to download by clicking here. Read our ‘guidance for the clergy’ page to download the First Supplement or to buy a copy of the 2010 booklet (3rd edition).

March 2015

Updated guidance for the clergy on marriage law:
The sixth issue of the General Register Office’s Clergy Newsletter is available to read, along with earlier editions:
A new edition of the ‘Guidebook for the Clergy’ is now available: This is an important update because it takes account of the changes in the law brought about by the Immigration Act 2014. In particular, the flow-chart in Appendix B of the Guidance will assist clergy in establishing whether a person who does not have a current British Passport is a British National.

Changes to the law for non-European nationals wishing to marry in the Church of England:
Please be aware of the implications of the Immigration Act 2014 on marriages in the Church of England. From 2nd March 2015, it is no longer lawful for the marriage of a non-EEA (i.e. non-European) national to be solemnized in the Church of England after the publication of banns or by a common marriage licence (unless a couple has been informed that the ‘transitional arrangements’ will apply to them). All such weddings will now have to be authorised by Superintendent Registrar’s Certificates. Read our pages on marriage law for further information.

December 2014

Changes to the law for non-European nationals wishing to marry in the Church of England: Please be aware of the implications of the Immigration Act 2014 on marriages in the Church of England, which takes effect from 2nd March 2015: click here for more information.

January 2014

New Faculty Office website: A new website for the Faculty Office has been launched. We welcome your views on the new site. Please send any comments by email to


July 2013

Clarification of the law relating to ‘qualifying connections’ for marriage: Section 1 of the Church of England Marriage (Amendment) Measure 2012 amends the Church of England Marriage Measure 2008 and came into force on 1st June 2013. 

The legislation clarifies for the avoidance of doubt that those who have a ‘qualifying connection’ (as defined in the 2008 Measure) with a parish may benefit from various provisions of the Marriage Act 1949 in the same way that those who have a right to marry in his or her parish of residence or usual place of worship.


Those provisions are as follows:

A)   Where benefices are held in plurality or where a single benefice has multiple parishes, and the bishop has made a order for banns and marriages (under the Marriage Act section 23 or the Mission and Pastoral Measure section 43), banns may be published and marriages take place in any of the churches or chapels in the benefice(s) as defined by the terms of that order.

B)    Where a parish church is being rebuilt or repaired, and is therefore not being used for usual parish services, banns may be published and marriages may take place in:-

i.          a building in the parish that has been licensed by the bishop for services whilst the parish church is out of use; or,

ii.          if the bishop has not licensed any such building, any consecrated chapel in the parish as directed by the bishop; or

iii.          a parish church or chapel licensed for marriages of any adjoining parish.

C)    Where a parish does not have a parish church or public chapel, or does not have a parish church or public chapel in which Sunday services are regularly held, the parish is deemed to belong to any adjoining parish, and banns may be published and marriages solemnized in the parish church of any adjoining parish.

D)   Where a parish has no parish church, but a building (or part of a building) in the parish is designated as a ‘parish centre of worship’, it is deemed to be, for the purpose of marriages, a parish church; but a marriage may be solemnized either in the ‘parish centre of worship’ or in any adjoining parish as under (C) above.


The Church of England Legal Office has provided a more detailed briefing setting out the changes, which can be found here.


December 2012

Publication of banns of marriage: Changes to the law of the publication of banns of marriage came into effect on 19 December 2012. This relates to the wording used and the service(s) at which banns may be published:

1.  The Measure provides statutory authority for the use of the form of words for the publication of banns contained in Common Worship: Pastoral Services (as an optional alternative to the form of words contained in the Book of Common Prayer)

2.  The Measure requires that the publishing of Banns (on three Sundays, as at present) must be at the ‘principal service’ (rather than, as at present, at ‘morning service’). There is an optional provision that they may additionally be published at any other service on those three Sundays.


Please note that the recent change in the law relates to the ‘time of publication’ on a particular Sunday. The law on the ‘dates of publication’ remains unchanged. Banns are to be published on three Sundays preceding the marriage but there is no requirement that these must be three successive Sundays.

The Church of England Legal Office has provided a more detailed briefing setting out the changes, which can be found here.

October 2012

IPS Clergy Newsletter: The third edition of the Identity & Passport Service (IPS)’s Clergy Newsletter is available to download here together with the latest version of the Guidance for the Clergy on marriage registration etc.

Hours of Solemnization of Marriage: The Legal Office of the Archbishops’ Council has provided updated guidance on the repeal of section 4 of the Marriage Act 1949. The repeal does not change the legal position in relation to marriages according to the Rites of the Church of England. A Church of England marriage may still be solemnized only between 8.00am and 6.00pm. This is a legal requirement of the Church of England’s Canons (Canon B 35.3).  The only exception to this is where a Special Licence has been granted, as this can theoretically authorise a marriage at any time of day or night. However, a Special Licence will only permit marriage outside the usual hours when medical necessity dictates this.