Customary Marriage (Registration) Act
- Commenced on 1 October 1973
- [This is the version of this document at 31 December 2000.]
- [Note: The version of the Act as at 31 December 2000 was revised and consolidated by the Law Reform Commission of Uganda. All subsequent amendments have been researched and applied by Laws.Africa for ULII.]
Part I – Interpretation
1. InterpretationIn this Act, unless the context otherwise requires—
Part II – Marriage districts and registrars
2. Marriage districts
3. Appointment of registrarsAll subcounty chiefs and the town clerks of the city of Kampala, the municipalities of Jinja, Masaka and Mbale and of the townships specified in the First Schedule to this Act shall be registrars for their respective marriage districts.
Registration of customary marriages
4. Celebration of customary marriages
5. Customary marriage register bookEvery registrar of a marriage district shall cause to be kept in his or her office a “customary marriage register book” in the prescribed form.
6. Registration of customary marriages
7. Customary marriage certificateAt the time of registration of a customary marriage, the registrar shall, upon payment of the prescribed fee, issue the parties with a certificate in the prescribed form.
8. Registration of customary marriage out of timeA registrar of a marriage district may register a customary marriage after the expiration of six months’ period specified in section 6 on payment of such fee as may be prescribed.
9. Registration of marriage settlement
10. Evidence of a certificate of customary marriageA certificate of a customary marriage issued under this Act or a certified copy of the certificate shall be conclusive evidence of the marriage for all purposes in any written law.
Validity of marriage
11. Void marriagesA customary marriage shall be void if—
12. Customary marriage and monogamous or Muslim marriage
13. Validity of customary marriage not affected by subsequent marriageWhere a person contracts a customary marriage under this Act and subsequently contracts a monogamous or Muslim marriage with another person, the validity of the customary marriage shall not be affected by the monogamous or Muslim marriage, but the monogamous or Muslim marriage shall be void.
Registrar General’s duties
14. Registrar General’s duties
15. Monthly returnsWithin ten days of the last day of each month, every registrar shall forward to the Registrar General a copy of all entries made by him or her during the preceding month in the customary marriage register book.
16. SearchesAll registers, monthly returns and indexes in the custody of the Registrar General and the registrars of marriage districts shall be open for inspection by members of the public during the prescribed hours and upon payment of the prescribed fee.
17. Certified copies
18. Correction of errors
Offences and penalties
19. False statements for purposes required by this ActAny person who, for the purpose of doing anything required to be done under this Act, makes any document or utters any statement which is false in a material particular—
20. Failure to register customary marriageThe parties to a customary marriage who fail to register their marriage within the time specified in section 6 commit an offence and are liable to a fine not exceeding five hundred shillings.
Part III – Preliminaries to marriages of persons not belonging to any indigenous tribe of Uganda
21. Notice of marriageWhenever, after the commencement of this Act, any persons who do not belong to any indigenous tribe of Uganda desire to contract a customary marriage, one of the parties to the intended customary marriage shall sign and give to the registrar of the district in which the customary marriage is intended to take place a notice in the prescribed form.
22. Signature of notice by person unable to write or to understand EnglishIf the person giving such notice is unable to write or is insufficiently acquainted with the English language, or both, then it shall be sufficient if he or she places his or her mark or cross to the notice in the presence of some literate person who shall attest to it, which attestation shall be in the prescribed form.
23. Registrars to supply forms of noticeEvery registrar shall supply forms of notice on payment of the prescribed fee to any persons applying for them.
24. Notice to be entered in customary marriage notice book and published
25. Registrar to issue certificate on proof of conditions by affidavit
26. Minister’s power to grant licence to marryThe Minister, upon proof being given to him or her by affidavit that there is no lawful impediment to the proposed marriage, and that the necessary consent, if any, to the marriage has been obtained, may, if he or she shall think fit, dispense with the giving of notice, and with the issue of the certificate of the registrar, and may grant his or her licence, which shall be in the prescribed form authorising the celebration of a marriage between the parties named in the licence by a registrar.
27. Caveat may be entered against issue of certificateAny person whose consent to a marriage is required, or who may know of any just cause why the customary marriage should not take place, may enter a caveat against the issue of the registrar’s certificate, by writing at any time before the issue of the certificate the word “Forbidden” opposite to the entry of the notice in the customary marriage notice book, and appending to it his or her name and place of abode, and the grounds upon or by reason of which he or she claims to forbid the issue of the certificate, and the registrar shall not issue his or her certificate until the caveat shall be removed as hereafter provided.
28. Objections by persons outside UgandaWhere a person, such as referred to in section 27 resides outside Uganda, an objection signed in accordance with the laws of his or her country of residence relating to the attestation of documents and duly authenticated by a notary public consul or other person authorised by the laws of that country in that behalf shall be sufficient evidence of objection to the celebration of that marriage.
29. When caveat entered, question to be referred to court
30. Removal of caveat
31. Compensation and costsThe chief magistrate may award compensation and costs to the party injured, if it appears that a caveat was entered on insufficient grounds.
Consent to marriage in certain cases necessary
32. Consent to marriage of minorsIf either party to an intended customary marriage, not being a widower or widow, is under twenty-one years of age, the written consent of the father, or if he is dead or of unsound mind, of the mother, or if both are dead or of unsound mind, of the guardian of the party, must be produced annexed to the affidavit as aforesaid before a licence can be granted or a certificate issued.
33. Signature of consent by person unable to write or to understand English
34. Consent may be obtained from outside UgandaWhere the person required to sign the consent resides outside Uganda, a consent signed in accordance with the laws of that country of residence relating to the attestation of documents and duly authenticated by a notary public consul or other person authorised by the laws of that country in that behalf shall be sufficient authority for the celebration of that marriage.
35. Nonapplicability of provisionsThis Part of this Act shall not apply to people who belong to any indigenous tribe of Uganda.
Part IV – Miscellaneous
36. RegulationsThe Minister may make regulations for all or any of the following—
37. Registration of customary marriages celebrated before commencement of this Act
38. Customary marriages registered at gombolola headquarters
History of this document
31 December 2000 this version
01 October 1973