Births, Deaths and Marriages

Death

The UK emergency Coronavirus Bill has passed and includes provisions that allow remote death and still-birth registration in Scotland.  This means rather than a face to face appointment, registrations must now be completed by phone. Please contact your local registrar on 01546 605521 or fill in our online form to arrange a remote appointment.

Out of office hours and on weekends you will be asked to leave a message with the following information;

  • Full Name of Deceased
  • Address of Deceased
  • Place of Death
  • Date of Birth
  • Where they were born
  • Were they married in Scotland
  • Name of Informant

Our on duty registrar will return your call once they are available to progress with the registration.

As part of trying to keep people and business safe from the impact of covid, restrictions are in place at Cardross Crematorium and burial grounds.

These restrictions are about meeting national guidelines on physical distancing, keeping people safe and trying to ensure that fewer people lose family members unnecessarily. We would ask you also please to wear a face covering unless you are exempt.

Cremations services at Cardross Crematorium are limited to 18 people and burial services are limited to up to a maximum of 20 people. These numbers include anyone who may be recording/broadcasting the service. We understand how difficult it is, but we urge you to stick to these numbers and not congregate in larger numbers outside the Crematorium or burial grounds.

Social distancing rules must be in place at all times.

The Book of Remembrance, at Cardross Crematorium, is now open once again for viewing.  In order that this can be done safely, we ask that you call us first on 01389 841313 to make an appointment, before coming to the Crematorium. Thank you for your assistance. 

Changes to burials and cemeteries during coronavirus

We understand that it is heartbreaking for many families who, because of the COVID-19 crises, are unable to mourn their loved ones in the way that they would wish. As always, we offer our deepest sympathies.

The council wants to help families give their loved ones dignified burials at this time. We want to take all reasonable precautions to protect mourners and keep everyone safe, as well as protecting our burial staff so that they can continue to provide their services to other families who suffer losses in the coming weeks and months.

This is why we have changed our normal procedures for burials, making sure that we follow national guidance on physical distancing and health protection regulations.

Maximum number of mourners

The number of mourners (friends and family) at burials is limited to a maximum of 20 people.

That way we can make sure physical distancing is maintained and that all mourners and council staff stay safe.

Post funeral gatherings such as wakes cannot take place under current restrictions.

Carrying and lowering the coffin

Unfortunately, it simply isn’t possible for family members lowering cords to observe the two metre distancing, so council staff will lower the coffin via webbing straps. 

The traditional lowering of the coffin via cords is symbolic – the actual weight of the coffin is taken on webbing straps by council staff who usually stand next to the mourners who are taking the cords. We could not do this and maintain a safe two metre distance for everyone.

Council staff will also carry the coffin from the hearse to the graveside. This will be done with dignity and respectfulness.

Works in cemeteries

We will continue to maintain our cemeteries to keep them safe for mourners, undertakers and staff and to make sure that interments proceed with dignity.

Access to cemeteries

All cemeteries in Argyll and Bute are open.

We might occasionally have to close them for a short while, if staff are doing maintenance work. This keeps staff and mourners safe.  

Support for bereavement

Coping with bereavement is always difficult. It may be even more so without the normal support networks around you at the moment. There are organisations you can reach out to at this time who can help. The Scottish Government website has more information on support networks.

Funeral Support Payment

Funeral Support Payment is available to people who are paying for a funeral, are on certain low-income benefits or tax credits and are the nearest relation to the person who has died. 

The payment can help towards burial or cremation fees, some travel costs, and other expenses such as funeral director fees, a coffin, or flowers. Normally, applications can only be made up to six months following a funeral. Clients can now apply late if the reason for the delay in applying is due to COVID-19.

Check if you are eligible for a payment, and apply online at mygov.scot/benefits

You can also apply over the phone by calling 0800 182 2222 and requesting a call back.

For general enquiries, Social Security Scotland is now offering a web chat service between 8 am - 6 pm Monday to Friday.

There is also a new online document upload function for clients to send in evidence to support an application.

Birth

To register your baby’s birth please contact your local Registrar by filling in our online form or emailing us at  registrationenquiries@argyll-bute.gov.uk please use the subject Birth Registration and include your full name, child’s date and place of birth, the name of the office that you wish to attend to register and contact information.

Alternatively call your local registrar on 01546605521 to register your details.

All registrations will be on an appointment only basis and our offices will not be open to the public without a pre-arranged appointment.

Please be aware that where the parents of the child are married to each other either parent may attend to register the birth, however where the parents are not married they must both attend if the father/second parent’s name is to be listed on the register.

If you have not been able to register the birth of your child because of coronavirus, you can still make a claim to receive Child Benefit.

If this is your first child, fill in Child Benefit claim form CH2 and send it to the Child Benefit Office. If you haven’t registered the birth because of COVID 19, add a note to explain this with your application.

If you are already in receipt of Child Benefit, you can complete the form or add your new baby’s details over the telephone on 0300 200 3100. You will need your National Insurance number or Child Benefit number when you call.

More information is available here.

Pregnancy and Baby Payment

The Pregnancy and Baby Payment helps eligible families with the expenses of having a new child. It is a £600 payment for a first child and £300 for other children.

Normally people can only apply for the Pregnancy and Baby Payment from 24 weeks pregnant up to 6 months after the baby was born.

During these challenging times, Social Security Scotland is accepting applications that are made after this timescale, if the reason for the delay in applying is due to COVID-19.

Check if you are eligible for a payment, and apply online at mygov.scot/benefits

You can also apply over the phone by calling 0800 182 2222 and requesting a call back.

The Pregnancy and Baby Payment and Funeral Support Payment also provide support for people whose baby died after being born, and for people who have had a stillbirth where the baby was born after the beginning of the 24th week of pregnancy.

Marriage

Update - 5th January 2021

From Friday 8th January,

 

First Minister’s announcements introduce significant new restrictions on marriage and civil partnership within areas subject to level 4.

These are:

  • No more than 5 people to attend a marriage or civil partnership ceremony (or 6 where an interpreter is necessary)

     

  • This figure represents the minimum number of participants for a legal ceremony in Scotland (the couple; two witnesses; the registrar or celebrant; and any interpreter)

     

  • As before, no receptions are to take place anywhere in level 4

     

  • Venues must also continue to be able to safely accommodate those attending, with appropriate physical distancing and other safety measures remaining in place.

 

 

Scottish travel restrictions

Additional restrictions are also being placed on the ability to travel to and for a marriage or civil partnership ceremony in Scotland.

Provisions are being introduced in regulations so that persons who live within level 4 areas must not leave the place where they are living.  However, attendance at a marriage or civil partnership ceremony is to be a reasonable exception to this where the person is one of the parties, a witness, a registrar or celebrant, or a necessary interpreter.

Persons in the above categories living in areas which are not in level 4 will also have a reasonable excuse to enter a level 4 area to attend a marriage or civil partnership ceremony.  Any such marriage or civil partnership which does occur in a level 4 area, however, will be required to occur in accordance with the requirements of the level 4 regulations.

As no receptions can take place within level 4 areas, travel to, within or between level 4 areas for the purpose of attending a marriage or CP reception remains disallowed.

 

Travel from the rest of the UK, the ROI and Jersey

Under amended Health Protection regulations, travel between Scotland and the rest of the UK, the Republic of Ireland and Jersey to attend a marriage or civil partnership ceremony will no longer be considered a reasonable excuse other than in terms of the minimum legal number of attendees, as noted above.  Therefore, travel from the rest of the UK, the Republic of Ireland and Jersey into Scotland for the purpose of attending a marriage or civil partnership ceremony is no longer allowed other than for the couple, the witnesses or celebrant, as well as any necessary interpreter.  (The same applies for travel from within Scotland to other parts of the common travel area.)

Face Coverings

From 8th August wearing a face covering is compulsory at certain indoor premises.  Everyone attending an indoor marriage or civil partnership service in a place of worship will be required by law to wear a face covering.

At registration offices and wedding venues the Scottish government has strongly advised those attending indoor appointments and weddings to wear a face covering.

We ask that anyone attending Argyll and Bute Council registration offices and marriage rooms for a wedding in Argyll and Bute wear face coverings. This is to minimise the risk of infection to registrars and celebrants in an indoor space. The maximum number of attendees remains 20, excluding the Registrar and any interpreter.

From Friday October 16, couples have been exempted from the requirement to wear a face covering during a marriage or civil partnership ceremony, provided that there is a distance of at least two metres maintained between the parties and any other person (or, alternatively, a partition between the parties and any other person). 

There is no requirement for a distance of at least two metres, or partition, to be maintained between the parties to the marriage ceremony or civil partnership registration. 

If the registrar or celebrant who is conducting the ceremony is content that existing restrictions – such as those on numbers in attendance, physical distancing and guests wearing face coverings indoors – are being properly observed, the registrar or celebrant may agree to the couple removing their face covering.

It is important to note that guests are still required to wear a face covering during the ceremony, unless exempt under existing regulations, and the couple must still wear a face covering to any reception held afterwards, up to the point under existing regulations where regulations allow them to be removed (i.e. when seated in the hospitality premises).

The size and layout of a venue may also determine the need for face coverings to be worn at certain points in the ceremony – for example, walking down an aisle where a two metre distance cannot be observed, or at the signing of the schedule.  Registrars should continue to work with couples to ensure the ceremony is able to be conducted safely for everyone throughout.

Beyond the period in which the ceremony is being conducted – for instance, whilst guests are gathering beforehand, or moving through any rooms or corridors – face coverings should continue to be worn in line with existing regulations.

There are also reasonable excuses for removing a face covering (temporarily) where it is in response to a request by “a relevant person or another person” to do so. This could include where a registrar makes such a request to check the couple’s identity, or to enable a registrar to remove the face covering if it is inhibiting their ability to communicate with those attending the service.  In addition, children under the age of 5 are not required to wear a face covering

Where external venues are conducting indoor weddings, there may be different requirements regarding the use of masks by wedding parties so please check with them beforehand.

Argyll and Bute Council Registrars will ensure we maintain the 2m distance and wear face coverings if required. 

Please see here for the gov.scot face covering guidance: and here for the gov.scot Marriage and Civil Partnership guidance

Please contact your registrar if you have any other enquiries about your planned ceremony. For further details visit the National Records of Scotland website

Read further guidance from Scottish Government.

MARRIAGE AND CIVIL PARTNERSHIP Q&A (last updated 21st December 2020)

Applies to Argyll and Bute or Level 4 local authority areas.

Are registration offices now permitted to accept notice forms?

Yes, offices may now process marriage and civil partnership notice forms if they have capacity to do so.

By law both parties to a proposed civil, religious or belief marriage or civil partnership are required to submit notice forms to the registrar of the district in which the marriage or civil partnership is to take place, you can find more information here. Please send your notice forms by post as registration offices are not yet open to the public.

Are all couples required to wait the minimum 29 day notice period?

Yes, unless they are granted dispensation (please see below for reasons for dispensations).

The date that notices are lodged will begin the 29 day minimum notice period.

If a couple posted their notice forms during lockdown but it was not lodged until now, would that qualify a dispensation?

The notice-lodged date is the date the notices are entered on our systems, not the date they arrive at the registration office.

Dispensations are currently still only permitted for consideration for terminal illness, armed forces deployment and imminent visa expiry.

Can couples who lodge notice now extend their notice period if required?

Yes, if notices are lodged over the next few weeks and the date of the ceremony has to be changed due to the coronavirus, the notice period can be extended up to 31 December, 2020 (if required).

Where a couple has already lodged notice to be married and cannot re-arrange their ceremony to take place by 31 December, 2020, they should submit new notice forms.  If they have already paid the notice fee and that fee has not been refunded, there will be no additional charge to lodge these new notice forms.

I am in the UK on a working VISA, can I get married in Scotland?

If you are a national of a country outside the European Economic Area (EEA), and Switzerland for example, Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the United States etc., and you intend to get married or to register a civil partnership in Scotland, then you will need an entry clearance. 

If you are already in the UK and are subject to immigration control but do not have a VISA which is specifically for the purpose of being married or entering a civil partnership we will have to refer the marriage to the Home Office for their approval. This can increase the notice period from 29 to 70 days so it is recommended you submit your paperwork to the registrar as early as possible. Further information is available here.

How many people can now attend a marriage or civil partnership ceremony?

From Friday 8th January 2021 maximum number of attendees at a marriage or civil partnership ceremony of 5 (including the registrar but not any necessary interpreter)

Does this maximum number of attendees include children under 12 years of age?

Yes, all children are included in the maximum number of attendees at a marriage or CP ceremony at a public venue.

Does this cover public spaces, such as registration offices and wedding venues?

Yes, marriages and civil partnerships can continue in public spaces; the new restrictions focus on limiting contact, and numbers, within private spaces.

How about outdoor marriage or civil partnership ceremonies?

Outdoor ceremonies can continue, as long as you follow the same guidance as previously described - maximum number of attendees of 5 (including the registrar but not any necessary interpreter)  and with existing measures, such as appropriate distancing, remaining in place.

However, marriages in private dwellings – whether indoors or outdoors – are restricted. Please see below.

What restrictions now exist on marriages and CPs in private dwellings?

The new regulations prevent members of the public meeting anyone socially in a private dwelling.  However, there are some exceptions to this, and one of the exceptions relates to attending a marriage ceremony or civil partnership registration.

Scottish Government strongly advises marriage ceremonies and civil partnership registrations should only take place indoors in private dwellings where it is not possible for them to take place in a public place or outdoors, because for example:

  • A party to the marriage or civil partnership is seriously ill
  • Disability prevents such a party from attending a ceremony or registration at a public or outside venue.

Where a ceremony or registration does take place indoors at a private dwelling, the number of attendees should be kept to the absolute minimum (the couple, two witnesses and the registrar, as well as an interpreter, where one is needed).

Physical distancing between households should also be strictly observed.

What about marriages/CPs outdoors – in a garden, yard or other outdoor space – at a private dwelling?

Following a recent policy decision, marriage/CP ceremonies are allowed in outdoor spaces at a private dwelling.

There are a number of conditions which must be fulfilled to allow such ceremonies to go ahead (which align outdoor ceremonies at private dwellings with outdoor ceremonies at public venues):

  • The ceremony must observe physical distancing
  • Numbers should be kept to the minimum possible
  • A maximum of 5 people can attend
  • This maximum includes the couple, witnesses, children, guests and carers supporting attendees at the ceremony, as well as any professionals such as photographers employed by the couple
  • It does include the registrar or celebrant but not any necessary interpreter.

What do you mean by a private dwelling?

The definition of a private dwelling includes self-contained, self-catering and other private hire holiday accommodation.  The use of private hire exclusive use premises (such as castles and historic houses) for ceremonies will depend on the arrangements in place.

If the venue is managed and regulated, with venue staff to ensure that the relevant guidance, including this guidance and statutory hospitality guidance is followed, then the ceremony or registration will comply with the applicable regulations and guidance.  The venue would not be classified as a private dwelling and indoor marriage ceremonies and civil partnerships could proceed there under this guidance.

What about numbers attending wedding/CP receptions directly afterwards?

Receptions following wedding/CP ceremonies are not permitted in Tier 4 areas.

And receptions following a marriage/CP ceremony at a private dwelling?

Receptions following wedding/CP ceremonies are not permitted in Tier 4 areas.

Do the restrictions place any limits or conditions on travel in regard to marriage and civil partnership?                                    

As no receptions can take place within level 4 areas, travel to, within or between level 4 areas for the purpose of attending a marriage or CP reception is not a reasonable excuse for travel.

Under the Health Protection regulations, travel from other parts of the UK Common Travel Area to attend a marriage/CP ceremony is also considered a reasonable excuse.  As of December 21, 2020, therefore, travel from England into Scottish level 4 areas for the purpose of attending a ceremony is allowed (though not for attending a reception)

Does this mean it is okay for a couple (or other attendees) to car-share on their way to or from a ceremony?

At this time, Scottish Government is strongly advising against car-sharing.  People should only share a vehicle with those from their own household or extended household.  If they have no other option, they should follow the safe travel guidance at the Transport Scotland website which provides advice on how to share vehicles safely (https://www.transport.gov.scot/coronavirus-covid-19/transport-transition-plan/advice-on-how-to-travel-safely/).

Have the regulations on face coverings changed since the last update?

From Friday October 16, couples have been exempted from the requirement to wear a face covering during a marriage or civil partnership ceremony, provided that there is a distance of at least two metres maintained between the parties and any other person (or, alternatively, a partition between the parties and any other person). 

There is no requirement for a distance of at least two metres, or partition, to be maintained between the parties to the marriage ceremony or civil partnership registration. 

If the registrar or celebrant who is conducting the ceremony is content that existing restrictions – such as those on numbers in attendance, physical distancing and guests wearing face coverings indoors – are being properly observed, the registrar or celebrant may agree to the couple removing their face covering.

It is important to note that guests are still required to wear a face covering during the ceremony, unless exempt under existing regulations, and the couple must still wear a face covering to any reception held afterwards, up to the point under existing regulations where regulations allow them to be removed (i.e. when seated in the hospitality premises).

The size and layout of a venue may also determine the need for face coverings to be worn at certain points in the ceremony – for example, walking down an aisle where a two metre distance cannot be observed, or at the signing of the schedule.  Registrars should continue to work with couples to ensure the ceremony is able to be conducted safely for everyone throughout.

Beyond the period in which the ceremony is being conducted – for instance, whilst guests are gathering beforehand, or moving through any rooms or corridors – face coverings should continue to be worn in line with existing regulations.

Has there been any change to the guidance on the playing of live music, including at marriage/CP ceremonies?

Recently, the performing arts guidance has been updated to reflect new evidence on transmission risks in relation to wind instruments and singing:

https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-the-performing-arts-and-venues-sector/.

Generally, indoor live performance of music to an audience is not advised but Scottish Government guidance for marriages and civil partnerships advises that if musical instruments require to be played, only those instruments that do not require to be blown into should be played.  An organ can be played, but should be cleaned thoroughly before and after use.  This guidance will be updated to reflect new evidence and the performing arts guidance shortly.

Are these conditions likely to change again soon?

Scottish Government is keeping all of these issues under active review.  The restrictions introduced this week will be reviewed in 3 weeks’ time, and we will update our information as we are made aware of any changes.

Copy birth, death, marriage and civil partnership certificates

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