§ Mr. McLoughlin
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many people were married by special licence in Scotland in each of the last five years. 
§ Mr. McLeish
Marriage by 'special licence' is not possible in Scotland. The Marriage (Scotland) Act 1977 requires a period of 14 days to elapse between the appropriate district registrar receiving from the parties formal Marriage Notices accompanied by birth certificates etc and the registrar issuing the Marriage Schedule, the document without which no marriage ceremony, civil or religious, may lawfully take place. Only in exceptional circumstances, for example terminal illness, can this period of notice be shortened, with the approval of the Registrar General.