HC Deb 13 May 1957 vol 570 c3W
35. Mr. K. Robinson

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to what extent, and in what circumstances, British consuls abroad are empowered under his regulations to conduct marriage ceremonies between two British subjects; and what instructions they have received regarding the exercise of this function in Spain and Italy, respectively.

Mr. Ian Harvey

The performance of a marriage ceremony between two British subjects by Her Majesty's consuls abroad is governed by the Foreign Marriages Act, 1892 to 1947. Certain British consuls abroad are issued by my right hon. and learned Friend with a warrant to perform such marriages provided they are permitted by the law of the country in which the consul resides and provided consular marriages are recognised in that country.

In certain countries where the validity of a consular marriage is in doubt, consuls are permitted to perform a marriage only after a ceremony in accordance with the local law has been performed.

There are no restrictions on the celebration of marriages between two British subjects by consular officers in Spain but in Italy consuls may not celebrate such a marriage unless there has previously been a ceremony in accordance with the local law.