LC Paper No. LS 50/98-99
Paper for the House Committee Meeting
Object(s) of the Bill
of the Legislative Council
on 13 November 1998
Legal Service Division Report on
Marriage (Certificate of Absence of Marriage Record) Bill 1998
To amend the English texts of the relevant provisions in the Marriage Reform Ordinance (Cap. 178) and the Marriage Ordinance (Cap. 181) relating to the issue of "Certificates of Absence of Marriage Record" to make them consistent with the Chinese texts of those provisions.
LegCo Brief Reference
2. SBCR 9/2091/98 dated 27 October 1998 issued by the Security Bureau.
Date of First Reading
3. 11 November 1998.
4. Under section 13 of the Marriage Reform Ordinance (Cap. 178) and section 26 of the Marriage Ordinance (Cap. 181), the Registrar of Marriages may issue a certificate to the effect that there is no record of a marriage between certain named persons having taken place or having been registered. This certificate is known as a "Certificate of Absence of Marriage Record". Such certificate is required by some jurisdictions to establish that Hong Kong residents are free to marry their nationals.
5. There is however a disparity between the English and the Chinese texts of section 13 of Cap. 178 and section 26 of Cap. 181. The Chinese texts of these two sections provide that a certificate may be issued to the effect that there is no record of any marriage of a person named in the certificate. However, the English texts of those sections provide that a certificate may be issued to the effect that "there is no record of a marriage between certain persons named". Certificates of Absence of Marriage Record have been issued in terms consistent with the Chinese texts of those sections but inconsistent with their respective English texts.
6. This Bill seeks to bring the English texts of section 13 of Cap. 178 and section 26 of Cap. 181 in line with their respective Chinese texts and the wordings currently adopted in certificates issued under those sections.
7. To put beyond doubt the validity of certificates already issued, the Bill contains a provision that certificates issued prior to commencement of the Bill after it is enacted are deemed to be valid.
8. There has not been any public consultation on the Bill.
Consultation with the LegCo Panel
9. No consultation with any LegCo Panel on the Bill has been carried out.
10. The Bill does not introduce any policy change in the issue of Certificates of Absence of Marriage Record. The proposed amendments are technical in nature and simply clarify a doubt in the existing provisions.
11. The legal and drafting aspects of the Bill are in order. Members are recommended to support it.
FUNG Sau-kuen, Connie
Assistant Legal Adviser
Legislative Council Secretariat
9 November 1998