Appendix 4: CoCA Revised Code Of Practice

Previously presented to the Attorney General’s Department


Code of Practice

Attorney-General’s Department

Robert Garran Offices, National Circuit, BARTON ACT 2600 Tel: (02) 6250 6666 Fax: (02) 6250 5900

A marriage celebrant must maintain a high standard of service in his or her professional conduct and practice.

Therefore your celebrant will recognise the social, cultural and legal significance of marriage and the marriage ceremony in the Australian community, and the importance of strong and respectful family relationships.

Marriage is a fundamental and central institution of Australian society and weddings mark a special day in the lives of those involved. Adherence to this Code of Conduct will ensure that your marriage will be valid and all parts of the legal documents will be accurate and appropriate. Your Celebrant also has a duty to ensure that the information supplied by you conforms to the requirement of the Marriage Act and Regulations. In addition the safety and health, of you, your guests and others associated with your wedding is of paramount importance. Your Celebrant has the right not to conduct or to ask that you postpone your ceremony should there be any danger or failure by you to comply with the requirements of the law. To help ensure that high standards are observed the Registrar of Marriages will hear any complaints you may have relating to the failure of your Celebrant to meet the obligations under the law and may take disciplinary action and/ or hear any complaints your Celebrant may have relating to your failure to meet the obligations under the law.


The marriage celebrant must respect the importance of the marriage ceremony to the parties and the other persons organising the ceremony. To that end, the marriage celebrant must do the following:

(a)       give the parties information and guidance to enable them to choose or compose a marriage ceremony that will meet their needs and expectations;

(b)       respect the privacy and confidentiality of the parties;

(c)       maintain appropriate facilities to interview parties and provide office facilities, including facilities for the secure storage of records;

d)        within a reasonable time before the marriage ceremony:(i) confirm all details with the parties; and (ii) ensure the return of all personal documents belonging to the parties (unless it is necessary to keep the documents for the ceremony); and (iii) sign any necessary declarations;

(e)       if requested by the parties, conduct a marriage ceremony rehearsal;

(f)       ensure that his or her personal presentation is of an appropriate standard for the marriage ceremony, and respect the expectations of the parties in relation to the ceremony;

(g)       make efforts to ensure that the marriage ceremony is audible to all those present (using audio equipment, if required);

(h)       ensure accuracy in the preparation of documents, and in the conduct of the marriage ceremony;

(i)        arrive at the venue for the marriage ceremony no later than the time agreed with the parties; however the Celebrant may depart the venue if one or both the parties fail to attend, within a reasonable period, as agreed;

(j)        if the marriage celebrant has agreed to perform more than one marriage ceremony on the same day: i) ensure that the parties to each marriage receive a level of service that meets their separate and special requirements; and (ii) be available at the venue for each marriage ceremony at least 20 minutes before the agreed commencement of each ceremony (unless, in the case of consecutive ceremonies, the ceremonies are to be held at the same venue);

(k)         Will solemnize marriages according to the legal requirements of the Marriage Act 1961 (Cth); and observe the laws of the Commonwealth and of the State or Territory where the marriage is to be solemnized; and avoid unlawful discrimination in the provision of services. > ensure that all relevant documents are completed and sent to the appropriate registering authority within 14 days after the marriage ceremony, as required by section 50 of the Marriage Act 1961;

(l)          in relation to the provision of marriage services, accept evaluative comment from the parties, and use any comments to improve performance

(m)             Maintain an up-to-date knowledge about appropriate family relationships services in the community; and inform parties about the range of information and services available to them to enhance, and sustain them throughout, their relationship.

(n)                    May provide you with a Service Agreement that will incorporate the Celebrant’s duties under the law or, he or she may provide this document as his or her Service Agreement. Every wedding is unique and therefore you should ensure that the Agreement meets your needs. Any clause is invalid to the extent that it is inconsistent with this Standard

(o)                    Will provide information about how to notify the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department of any concerns or complaints you may have regarding the marriage services provided by the marriage celebrant.
Last modified on Saturday, 28 January 2017 00:10