Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010

16.

Insertion of new Part 7A of Act of 2004.

16.— The Act of 2004 is amended by inserting the following Part after section 59:

“PART 7A

Registration of Civil Partnerships

Definitions (Part 7A).

59A.— In this Part—

‘civil partnership registration form’ means a form prescribed under section 59C;

‘register’ means the register of civil partnerships.

Notification of civil partnerships.

59B.— (1) A civil partnership registered in the State, after the commencement of this section, between persons of any age shall not be valid in law unless the persons concerned—

( a) notify any registrar in writing in a form for the time being standing approved by an tArd-Chláraitheoir of their intention to enter into a civil partnership not less than 3 months prior to the date on which the civil partnership is to be registered, and

( b) attend at the office of that registrar, or at any other convenient place specified by that registrar, at any time during normal business hours not less than 5 days (or a lesser number of days that may be determined by that registrar) before that date and make and sign a declaration in his or her presence that there is no impediment to the registration of the civil partnership.

(2) Notwithstanding paragraph ( a) of subsection (1), the Circuit Court or the High Court may, on application to it by the persons wishing to enter into a civil partnership, order that the registration be exempt from that paragraph if the Court is satisfied, after a hearing held otherwise than in public, that there are serious reasons for the exemption and that the exemption is in the interests of those persons.

(3) The jurisdiction conferred on the Circuit Court by this section shall be exercised by a judge of the circuit in which either of the parties to the intended civil partnership concerned ordinarily resides or carries on any profession, business or occupation or where the place at which the civil partnership concerned is intended to be registered is situate.

(4) A court fee shall not be charged in respect of an application under subsection (2).

(5) Except in the circumstances that may be prescribed, a notification referred to in paragraph (1)( a) shall be delivered by both of the parties to the intended civil partnership, in person, to the registrar.

(6) The notification shall be accompanied by the prescribed fee and any other documents and information that an tArd-Chláraitheoir may specify.

(7) The requirements specified in subsections (1) and (5) are declared to be substantive requirements for registering a civil partnership.

(8) When, in relation to an intended civil partnership, a registrar receives a notification under paragraph (1)( a) and any other documents or information specified under subsection (6), he or she shall, as soon as reasonably practicable, notify in writing each of the parties to the intended civil partnership and the registrar who is to register the civil partnership of the receipt.

(9) A notification under subsection (8) shall not be construed as indicating the registrar’s approval of the proposed civil partnership.

(10) The registrar may require each party to an intended civil partnership to provide him or her with the evidence relating to that party’s forename, surname, address, civil status, age and nationality that an tArd-Chláraitheoir may specify.

(11) An tArd-Chláraitheoir may, if so authorised by the Minister, publish, in the form and manner that the Minister may direct, notice of notifications of intended civil partnerships under subsection (1), but a notice under this subsection shall not contain the personal public service number of a party to the intended civil partnership.

Civil partnership registration form.

59C.— (1) A registrar to whom a notification is given under section 59B, or who receives a copy of an exemption order under subsection (2) of that section, who is satisfied that that section has been complied with shall complete a civil partnership registration form for the intended civil partnership.

(2) Before the registration of a civil partnership, the registrar shall give a copy of the civil partnership registration form to one of the parties to the intended civil partnership.

(3) When the parties wish to register a civil partnership, one of them shall give the civil partnership registration form to the registrar who is to register the civil partnership for examination by him or her.

(4) A civil partnership registration form is valid only for a period of 6 months from the date on which it is completed. If the parties do not register the civil partnership during that period and wish to have their civil partnership registered, they shall again comply with section 59B.

(5) The Minister may prescribe the civil partnership registration form.

Civil partnership registration.

59D.— (1) The parties shall orally make the declarations referred to in subsection (3), and sign the civil partnership registration form in the presence of each other, the registrar and two witnesses professing to be 18 years or over. The declarations shall be made and the signature of the civil partnership registration form shall be in a place that is open to the public, unless an tArd-Chláraitheoir or a superintendent registrar—

( a) is satisfied on the basis of a certificate of a registered medical practitioner that one or both of the parties is too ill to attend at a place that is open to the public, and

( b) gives approval to the registrar that signature of the form take place at another place chosen by the parties and agreed to by the registrar.

(2) The registrar shall be satisfied that the parties understand the nature of the civil partnership and the declarations specified in subsection (3).

(3) Each party to the civil partnership shall make the following declarations:

( a) a declaration that he or she does not know of any impediment to the civil partnership registration;

( b) a declaration of his or her intention to live with and support the other party; and

( c) a declaration that he or she accepts the other party as a civil partner in accordance with the law.

(4) The requirements of subsections (1) to (3) are declared to be substantive requirements for civil partnership registration.

(5) The parties may, before signing the civil partnership registration form, take part in a ceremony in a form approved by an tArd-Chláraitheoir in which the declarations are made in a place open to the public and in the presence of the registrar and the witnesses.

(6) ( a) The witnesses shall sign the form after the parties to the civil partnership have done so, and the registrar shall countersign the form.

( b) The parties’ civil partnership shall be taken to be registered upon the counter-signature of the registrar.

( c) As soon as practicable after the signatures and counter-signature, the registrar shall give the parties a copy of the form referred to in paragraph ( a), enter the particulars in relation to the civil partnership in the register and register the civil partnership in a manner that an tArd-Chláraitheoir may direct.

(7) Where an tArd-Chláraitheoir is satisfied that a duly signed civil partnership registration form has been lost, destroyed or damaged, he or she may direct the appropriate registrar—

( a) to complete another civil partnership registration form and arrange, insofar as it is practicable to do so, for its signature by the persons referred to in subsection (1), and

( b) when it has been so signed, to enter the particulars in relation to the civil partnership specified in the form in the register and to register the civil partnership in a manner as an tArd-Chláraitheoir may direct.

(8) The Minister may provide by regulations for the correction of errors in entries in the register and for the causing of corrected entries to be entered in the register and for the retention of the original entries in the register.

(9) Where an tArd-Chláraitheoir is satisfied that an entry in the register relates to a civil partnership in relation to which section 59B(1) was not complied with (other than where there has been an exemption ordered under subsection (2) of that section)—

( a) an tArd-Chláraitheoir shall direct a registrar to cancel the entry,

( b) the registrar shall cancel the entry, and

( c) an tArd-Chláraitheoir shall notify the parties.

Places and times for registration of civil partnerships.

59E.— (1) A civil partnership may be registered only at a place and time chosen by the parties to the civil partnership with the agreement of the registrar and, if the place chosen is not the office of a registrar or a place referred to in section 59D(1)( b), the approval of the place by the Executive, and the question whether to give or withhold the approval, shall be determined by the Executive by reference to the matters that the Minister may specify.

(2) Where a registrar registers a civil partnership at a place other than the office of a registrar, the parties shall pay to the registrar a fee in the amount that the Executive may determine.

(3) When a registrar incurs travel or subsistence expenses in connection with registering a civil partnership at a place other than his or her office, the parties shall pay to the registrar an amount in respect of the expenses, calculated by reference to a scale that the Executive may draw up.

(4) An amount payable under subsection (2) or (3) may be recovered by the registrar from the parties as a simple contract debt in any court of competent jurisdiction.

Objections.

59F.— (1) A person may, at any time before a civil partnership registration, lodge with any registrar an objection in writing that contains the grounds on which the objection is based.

(2) If the registrar who receives an objection under subsection (1) is not assigned to the same registration area as the registrar to whom the notification was given under section 59B (or, where there has been an exemption ordered under subsection (2) of that section, the registrar who is to register the civil partnership)—

( a) the receiving registrar shall refer the objection to the Superintendent Registrar of the registration area to which the other registrar is assigned,

( b) the Superintendent Registrar shall direct a registrar assigned to that area to perform the function conferred by this section on the receiving registrar,

( c) the registrar who receives the direction shall comply with it, and

( d) references in this section to the registrar who receives an objection shall be construed as references to the registrar who receives the direction and this section shall apply and have effect accordingly.

(3) If the registrar who receives an objection under subsection (1) is satisfied that the objection relates to a minor error or misdescription in the relevant notification under section 59B which would not constitute an impediment to the civil partnership, the registrar shall—

( a) notify the parties to the intended civil partnership registration of the objection,

( b) make the appropriate enquiries,

( c) if the civil partnership registration form has been given to one of the parties, request its return and correct it and the notification and make any necessary corrections to any other records relating to the civil partnership, and

( d) give the corrected civil partnership registration form to one of the parties to the civil partnership.

(4) If the registrar who receives an objection under subsection (1) believes that the possibility of the existence of an impediment to the intended civil partnership registration needs to be investigated, he or she shall refer the objection to an tArd-Chláraitheoir for consideration and, pending the decision of an tArd-Chláraitheoir, he or she shall—

( a) notify the parties to the intended civil partnership registration that—

(i) an objection has been lodged and the grounds on which it is based,

(ii) the objection is being investigated, and

(iii) the civil partnership registration will not proceed until the investigation is completed,

( b) if the civil partnership registration form has not been issued, suspend its issue,

( c) if the civil partnership registration form has been issued, request the party to the intended civil partnership registration to whom it was given to return it to the registrar, and

( d) notify the proposed registrar of the civil partnership, if a different registrar is intended to register the civil partnership, that an objection is being investigated, and direct him or her not to register the civil partnership until the investigation is completed.

(5) A registrar shall comply with a direction under paragraph (4)( d).

(6) Where an objection is referred to an tArd-Chláraitheoir pursuant to subsection (4), he or she shall make a decision on the objection as soon as practicable.

(7) In a case referred to in subsection (4), if an tArd-Chláraitheoir decides that no impediment to the intended civil partnership exists, he or she shall advise the registrar to that effect and the registrar shall—

( a) notify the parties to the civil partnership that no impediment to the civil partnership exists,

( b) issue or re-issue the civil partnership registration form to one of those parties, and

( c) notify the person who lodged the objection that no impediment to the civil partnership exists.

(8) In a case referred to in subsection (4), if an tArd-Chláraitheoir decides that there is an impediment to the intended civil partnership, he or she shall advise the registrar to that effect and of the reasons for the decision and the registrar shall—

( a) notify the parties to the civil partnership—

(i) that the registration of the civil partnership will not proceed, and

(ii) of the decision of an tArd-Chláraitheoir and of the reasons for it,

and

( b) take all reasonable steps to ensure that the registration does not proceed.

(9) If, notwithstanding the steps taken by the registrar pursuant to paragraph (8)( b), the civil registration proceeds, the entry in the register is invalid and any person who becomes aware of that entry into the register shall notify an tArd-Chláraitheoir of it.

(10) When an tArd-Chláraitheoir becomes aware of an entry referred to in subsection (9)—

( a) an tArd-Chláraitheoir shall direct a registrar to cancel the entry and notify the parties and the registrar who made the entry of the direction, and

( b) the registrar shall comply with the direction and cancel the entry and ensure that the cancelled entry is retained in the register.

(11) A party to a proposed civil partnership may appeal to the Circuit Court against the decision of an tArd-Chláraitheoir under subsection (8) in relation to the civil partnership.

(12) The jurisdiction conferred on the Circuit Court by subsection (11) may be exercised by a judge of the circuit in which either of the parties to the intended civil partnership ordinarily resides or carries on any profession, business or occupation or the place at which civil partnership concerned had been intended to be registered is situate.

(13) A person who has lodged an objection under subsection (1) may withdraw the objection, but an tArd-Chláraitheoir may, if he or she considers it appropriate to do so, investigate or complete his or her investigation of the objection and issue any directions to the registrar concerned in relation to the matter that he or she considers necessary.

(14) An objection on the ground that the civil partnership would be void by virtue of the incapacity of one or both of the parties to give informed consent shall be accompanied by a certificate supporting the objection made by a registered medical practitioner.

Where interpretation required.

59G.— If a party or a witness to a civil partnership registration does not have sufficient knowledge of the language of the registration to understand the registration documents or the declarations, the parties shall have an interpreter present who shall—

( a) before the parties make the declarations, sign, in the presence of the registrar, a statement to the effect that the interpreter understands and is able to converse in the language in respect of which he or she is to act as interpreter and give the statement to the registrar, and

( b) immediately after those declarations are made, give the registrar a signed certificate written in the language of the registration, to the effect that the interpreter has faithfully acted as interpreter.

Effect of registration.

59H.— The parties to a registered civil partnership shall be taken to be civil partners of each other as soon as the registrar has countersigned the civil partnership form as required by section 59D(6)( a), regardless of whether the registrar has performed the actions required of him or her under section 59D(6)( c), and all duties and benefits that accrue to civil partners under the Act of 2010 or any other law accrue to them.

Effect of this Part.

59I.— This Part shall have effect notwithstanding any statutory provision that conflicts with it.”.