HC Deb 18 February 1898 vol 53 cc1033-4

I beg to ask the Lord Advocate whether he is aware that the registrars of births, deaths, and marriages, in Glasgow, acting on the authority of an interlocutor pronounced by the late Sheriff Glassford Bell, in 1857, charge a fee of 20s. for recording a marriage contracted under the provisions of the Act 19 and 20 Vic, c. 96; whether that interlocutor supersedes the Registrar General's circular of an earlier date, prohibiting the exaction of such a fee; and, if so, why are the registrars in Dundee forbidden to act on the terms of the interlocutor; whether the registrars in Glasgow are permitted to carry through the process in an irregular marriage, charging 10s. for the same, in addition to the fee of 20s. for recording the marriage, and an additional fee of 5s. for the relative certificate, while the registrars in Dundee are only permitted to charge the fee for the certificate; and whether he is aware that the exaction of the fee of 20s. by the registrar of the Blackfriars District, Glasgow, for recording an irregular marriage was disputed in June last; and what is the effect of Sheriff Mair's decision?


In reply to the first paragraph of the question I believe the facts are substantially as stated, though I am not actually aware of a decision by Sheriff Glassford Bell of the date named, but no record is kept of decisions in the small debt court. In reply to the second paragraph the finding of a sheriff in a suit to recover an alleged statutory fee would practically decide how much the registrar could recover within the limits of that jurisdiction; the decision would therefore not affect Dundee. In reply to the third paragraph the sheriff has the superintendence and control of registrars within his own county. I believe that the question of the practice of registrars is at present under the consideration of the sheriffs; and I therefore desire to express no opinion, but I shall communicate with the sheriffs with a view of obtaining uniformity of practice. In reply to the last paragraph, I am not at present fully informed; but no doubt the sheriff's decision would have the effect already indicated.