§ 51. Mr. POTTER
asked the Minister of Health if he is aware that the registrar of marriages at Bacup when attending marriages by certificate makes a practice of informing the parties that his fee is 7s. 6d., whereas the statutory fee is 5s., and that when the 7s. 6d. has been paid he then asks the parties if they desire a copy of the certificate; and what action he proposes to take to have this irregular practice discontinued?
§ Mr. SHAKESPEARE
My right hon. Friend understands that the question relates to marriages to which the Marriage Act, 1898, has not been applied and of which the officiating clergyman or minister is not authorised to effect the statutory registration. In such cases the registrar of marriages must attend and register the marriage. His attendance fee is 5s.; and 2s. 7d. is payable for a marriage certificate, if required. As an additional search fee is payable when the certificate is applied for later, the practice is quite properly adopted by registrars, in the parties' interests, of inquiring at the time whether a marriage certificate is wanted; and if so the total fees amount to 7s. 7d. My right hon. Friend is aware of the circumstances referred to in the question, but he is satisfied that my hon. Friend's account of them is due to certain misunderstandings which the foregoing statement will, he hopes, remove.