- Is amended by Marriage Act (Amendment of Second Schedule) Order, 2005
- Is amended by Marriage (Amendment of Second Schedule) Order, 2014
- Commenced on 1 April 1904
- [This is the version of this document from 10 March 2014.]
- [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.]
- [Amended by Marriage Act (Amendment of Second Schedule) Order, 2005 (Statutory Instrument 56 of 2005) on 17 June 2005]
- [Amended by Marriage (Amendment of Second Schedule) Order, 2014 (Statutory Instrument 25 of 2014) on 10 March 2014]
1. InterpretationIn this Act, unless the context otherwise requires—
2. Constitution of marriage districtsThe Minister shall, by statutory order, divide Uganda into districts for the purposes of this Act, herein referred to as marriage districts, and may, from time to time by like order, alter the marriage districts, either by alteration of boundaries or by union or subdivision of districts, or by the formation of new districts.
3. Appointment of registrars
4. Offices of registrarsEvery registrar shall have an office at such place in his or her district as the Minister shall from time to time direct.
5. Places of worship to be licensedThe Minister may license any place of public worship to be a place for the celebration of marriages, and may at any time cancel such licence, and in either case he or she shall give notice thereof in the Gazette.
Preliminaries to marriage
6. Notice of marriageWhenever any persons desire to marry, one of the parties to the intended marriage shall sign and give to the registrar of the district in which the marriage is intended to take place a notice in Form A in the First Schedule to this Act.
7. Signature of notice by person unable to write or to understand EnglishIf the person giving the notice of marriage 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 Form B in the First Schedule to this Act.
8. Registrars to supply forms of notice free of costEvery registrar shall supply forms of notice gratuitously to any persons applying for them.
9. Notice to be entered in Marriage Notice Book and published
10. Registrar to issue certificate on proof of conditions by affidavit
11. Marriage to take place within three months after date of noticeIf the marriage shall not take place within three months after the date of the notice, the notice and all proceedings consequent on it shall be void; and fresh notice must be given before the parties can lawfully marry.
12. 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 according to Form D in the First Schedule to this Act, authorising the celebration of a marriage between the parties named in that licence by a registrar, or by a recognised minister of some religious denomination or body.
13. Caveat may be entered against issue of certificateAny person whose consent to a marriage is required by this Act, or who may know of any just cause why the marriage should not take place, may enter a caveat against the issue of the registrar’s certificate, by writing at any time before its issue the word “Forbidden” opposite to the entry of the notice in the Marriage Notice Book, and appending to the word 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 under sections 14 to sections 16.
14. When caveat entered question to be referred to courtWhenever a caveat is entered against the issue of a certificate, the registrar shall refer the matter to the High Court, and that court shall thereupon summon the parties to the intended marriage, and the person by whom the caveat is entered, and shall require the person by whom the caveat is entered to show cause why the registrar should not issue his or her certificate, and shall hear and determine the case in a summary way, and the decision of the High Court shall be final.
15. Removal of caveat
16. Compensation and costsThe High Court 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
17. Consent to marriage of minorsIf either party to an intended 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 or absent from Uganda, of the mother, or if both are dead or of unsound mind or absent from Uganda, of the guardian of that party, must be produced annexed to the affidavit as required by section 10 before a licence can be granted or a certificate issued.
18. Signature of consent by person unable to write or to understand English
19. Consent where no parent or guardian capable of consentingIf there is no parent or guardian of the party under twenty-one years of age residing in Uganda and capable of consenting to the marriage, then the Minister or a judge of the High Court may consent to the marriage in writing, upon being satisfied after due inquiry that the marriage is a proper one; and that consent shall be as effectual as if the father or mother had consented.
Celebration of marriage
20. Marriage in licensed place of worship by recognised minister
21. Minister not to celebrate marriage if impediment nor without licence, etc.A minister shall not celebrate any marriage if he or she knows of any just impediment to the marriage, nor until the parties deliver to him or her the registrar’s certificate or the Minister’s licence.
22. Place of celebration of marriageA minister shall not celebrate any marriage except in a building which has been duly licensed by the Minister, or in such place as the Minister’s licence may direct.
23. Registrars etc. to be provided with books of certificates
24. Entries to be made in marriage certificateImmediately after the celebration of any marriage by a minister, the officiating minister shall fill out in duplicate a marriage certificate with the particulars required by Form E, and state also and enter in the counterfoil the number of the certificate, the date of the marriage, names of the parties and the names of the witnesses.
25. Signature of certificate in duplicate
26. Marriage in a registrar’s officeAfter the issue of a certificate under section 10 or 15, or of a licence under section 12, the parties may, if they think fit, contract a marriage before a registrar, in the presence of two witnesses in his or her office, with open doors, between the hours of ten o’clock in the forenoon and four o’clock in the afternoon, and in the following manner—The registrar, after production to him or her of the certificate or licence, shall, either directly or through an interpreter, address the parties thus—“Do I understand that you (name), and you (name), come here for the purpose of becoming man and wife?”If the parties answer in the affirmative, he or she shall proceed thus—“Know you that by the public taking of each other as man and wife in my presence, and in the presence of the persons now here, and by the subsequent attestation of that taking by signing your names to that effect, you become legally married to each other, although no other rite of a civil or religious nature shall take place, and that this marriage cannot be dissolved during your lifetime, except by a valid judgment of divorce; and if either of you before the death of the other shall contract another marriage while this remains undissolved, you will be thereby guilty of bigamy and liable to punishment for that offence.”Each of the parties shall then say to the other—“I call upon all persons here present to witness that I, (name), do take thee, (name), to be my lawful wife (or husband)”.
27. Marriage certificate to be signedThe registrar shall then fill out, and he or she and the parties and witnesses shall sign, the certificate of the marriage in duplicate, and the registrar shall then fill out and sign the counterfoil as prescribed in section 24 in the case of a marriage by a minister, and shall deliver one certificate to the parties and shall file the other in his or her office.
28. Marriage under Minister’s licenceWhenever the Minister’s licence authorises the celebration of marriage at a place other than a licensed place of worship, or the office of a registrar of marriages, the registrar of the district in which the marriage is intended to take place, upon the production of the licence, shall deliver to the person producing it a blank certificate of marriage in duplicate, and the minister or registrar celebrating the marriage shall fill out the certificate, and observe strictly all the formalities hereinbefore prescribed as to marriages in a licensed place of worship, or registrar’s office, as the case may be.
29. Conversion of marriage by customary law into legally binding marriageWhenever after the 1st July, 1914, any persons already married or professing to be married to each other by customary law desire to convert that marriage into a marriage by which they are legally bound to each other as man and wife so long as both shall live by a ceremony before a registrar, such provisions of this Act as apply to a marriage before a registrar under section 26 shall apply to the conversion as though it were a marriage under that section; but in that case the Forms G, H, I, J and K in the First Schedule to this Act shall be used in lieu of the Forms A, C, D, E and F and the following forms shall be used in lieu of, and shall have the same effect as, those provided in section 26.In lieu of the first form set out there, the following—“Do I understand that you (name), and you (name), have been heretofore married to each other by customary law and that you come here for the purpose of binding yourselves legally to each other as man and wife so long as both of you shall live?”In lieu of the second form set out there, the following—“Whereas you (name), and you (name), profess that you have been heretofore married to each other by customary law and whereas that marriage does not bind you by law to each other as man and wife so long as both of you shall live and whereas you desire to bind yourselves legally each to the other as man and wife so long as both of you shall live: Know you that by the public taking of each other as man and wife so long as both of you shall live, in my presence and in the presence of the persons now here, and by the subsequent attestation of that taking by signing your names to that effect, you become legally bound to each other as man and wife so long as both of you shall live although no other rite of a civil or religious nature shall now take place, and that hereafter your marriage cannot be dissolved during your lifetime, except by a valid judgment of divorce; and if either of you before the death of the other shall illegally contract another marriage while your marriage to each other remains undissolved, you will be thereby guilty of bigamy, and liable to punishment for that offence.”And in lieu of the third form set out there, the following—“I call upon all persons here present to witness that I, (name), take you (name), to be my lawful wife (or husband) so long as both of us shall live.”
30. Facilities for marriages between British subjects resident in Uganda and British subjects resident in England, etc.
Registry and evidence of marriages
31. Marriage certificates to be registered
32. Correction of clerical errors in marriage certificatesAny registrar, when authorised by the Registrar General, may correct any clerical error in any certificate of marriage filed in his or her office, upon production to him or her of the certificate delivered to the parties, and shall authenticate every correction by his or her signature and the date of the correction.
33. Evidence of marriageEvery certificate of marriage which shall have been filed in the office of the registrar of any district, or a copy of it, purporting to be signed and certified as a true copy by the registrar of that district for the time being, and every entry in a Marriage Register Book or a copy of it, certified as aforesaid, shall be admissible as evidence of the marriage to which it relates, in any court of justice or before any person now or hereafter having by law or consent of parties authority to hear, receive and examine evidence.
34. Circumstances invalidating marriage
35. Marriages under this Act validAll marriages celebrated under this Act shall be good and valid in law to all intents and purposes.
36. Marriages under customary lawAny person who is married under this Act, or whose marriage is declared by this Act to be valid, shall be incapable, during the continuance of that marriage, of contracting a valid marriage under any customary law, but, except as aforesaid, nothing in this Act shall affect the validity of any marriage contracted under or in accordance with any customary law, or in any manner applied to marriages so contracted.
37. Certain expenses to be defrayed from public fundsThe Minister may defray out of monies provided by Parliament all proper expenses connected with the transmission or delivery of the marriage registers, or which may otherwise become necessary to be incurred in carrying out this Act.
Expenses and fees
39. Fee may be remittedThe Minister may, when he or she is satisfied of the poverty of the parties, reduce the amount of the fees specified in the Second Schedule, or remit them altogether; and, if they have been paid into the Consolidated Fund, order their refund.
40. Minister may receive customary feesThis Act shall not preclude a minister from receiving the fees ordinarily paid to a minister of his or her denomination for the celebration of marriage.
Offences and penalties
41. BigamyAny person who commits bigamy is liable to imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years.
42. Marriage with a person previously marriedAny person who, being unmarried, goes through the ceremony of marriage with a person whom he or she knows to be married to another person, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years.
43. Making false declarations, etc. for marriageAny person who in any declaration, certificate, licence, document or statement by law to be made or issued for the purposes of a marriage, declares, enters, certifies or states any material matter which is false, shall, if he or she does so without having taken reasonable means to ascertain the truth or falsity of that matter, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year, or shall, if he or she does so knowing that the matter is false, be liable on conviction to imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years.
44. False pretence of impediment to marriageAny person who endeavours to prevent a marriage by pretence that his or her consent to it is required by law, or that any person whose consent is so required does not consent, or that there is any legal impediment to the performing of the marriage, shall, if he or she does so knowing that the pretence is false or without having reason to believe that it is true, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years.
45. Unlawfully performing marriage ceremonyAny person who performs or witnesses as a marriage officer the ceremony of marriage, knowing that he or she is not duly qualified to do so, or that any of the matters required by law for the validity of the marriage has not happened or been performed, so that the marriage is void or unlawful on any ground, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years.
46. Wilful neglect of duty to fill up or transmit certificate of marriageAny person who, being under a duty to fill out the certificate of marriage celebrated by him or her, or its counterfoil, or to transmit the certificate to the registrar of marriages, wilfully fails to perform that duty, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years.
47. Personation in marriageAny person who personates any other person in marriage, or marries under a false name or description, with intent to deceive the other party to the marriage, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years.
48. Fictitious marriageAny person who goes through the ceremony of marriage, or any ceremony which he or she represents to be a ceremony of marriage, knowing that the marriage is void on any ground, and that the other person believes it to be valid, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years.
49. Contracting marriage when already married by customary lawAny person who contracts a marriage under this Act, or any modification or reenactment of this Act, being at the time married in accordance with customary law to any person other than the person with whom such marriage is contracted, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years.
50. Contracting marriage by customary law when already married under this ActAny person who, having contracted marriage under this Act or any modification or reenactment of this Act, during the continuance of that marriage contracts a marriage in accordance with customary law, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years.
51. FormsThe forms contained in the First Schedule to this Act may be used in the cases to which they are applicable, with such alterations as may be necessary.
History of this document
10 March 2014 this version
17 June 2005
31 December 2000
ConsolidationRead this version
01 April 1904
|Marriage Act (Amendment of Second Schedule) Order, 2005||Statutory Instrument 56 of 2005|