Recommendation (No.5) relating to the harmonisation of civil status records
adopted in Lisbon on 10 September 1987
The International Commission on Civil Status,
Considering that harmonisation between the member States of the format and content of civil status records would greatly facilitate their translation, understanding and possible computerisation;
Considering that there are a number of entries which all States consider it indispensable to include in their records of birth, marriage or death;
that these States also consider it necessary to include in these records certain indications that are peculiar to each State;
that finally there are a number of entries protected by the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, signed at Rome on 4 November 1950, and the Recommendation of the International Commission on Civil Status relating to the accessibility to the public of civil status registers and records, adopted by the General Assembly in Rome on 5 September 1984;
Recommends that the member States of the International Commission on Civil Status be guided by the following principles when drawing up records of birth, marriage or death:
Records of birth, marriage or death must be divided into four parts, as shown in the forms appended to this Recommendation;
Part 1 of each record shall contain the essential entries that are common to all the member States and accessible to the public;
Part 2 shall contain the entries that are common to all the member States and protected by the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, signed at Rome on 4 November 1950, and the Recommendation of the International Commission on Civil Status relating to the accessibility to the public of civil status registers and records, adopted by the General Assembly in Rome on 5 September 1984;
Part 3 shall include such compulsory or optional indications, peculiar to certain States, as are prescribed by their domestic law;
In part 4, finally, shall be recorded entries of an administrative nature relating to the authentication of the records and the identity of the competent civil registrars.
The blank space following the four parts of the records is for making - in chronological order, irrespective of the parts of the record to which they relate and in the manner prescribed by the law of each State - subsequent annotations relating to the various events they concern.
(A) GENERAL REMARKS
In view of the differences existing in the statutes and regulations of the member States governing the design, keeping, contents and format of civil status records, it proved too ambitious to contemplate their standardisation at the present stage. On the other hand, it appeared after a comparative study that it would be possible to take a step towards this goal by adopting a certain number of common rules facilitating the utilisation of the principal records by photocopying or computerisation and their understanding by civil registrars in each State. It was thus advocated that a documentary form be adopted for drawing up these records and that they be divided into four parts making it possible to distinguish
(1) entries not covered by the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, signed at Rome on 4 November 1950, and the ICCS Recommendation relating to the accessibility to the public of civil status registers and records, adopted by the General Assembly in Rome on 5 September 1984, and recognised by all States as being indispensable
(2) entries covered by the above-cited instruments
(3) indications peculiar to certain States
(4) entries relating to administrative formalities concerning the making and authentication of the records and the identity of the civil registrars and the signatures, as prescribed by the law of each State.
(B) DETAILS CONCERNING THE HARMONISED FORMS
1. Record of birth
Surname – Indication of the child's surname, which is not provided for in certain States, is necessary because without it the official taking the declaration would have to deduce the surname from that of the father and mother and would often need to have knowledge of a foreign law to do this.
Date of birth - As regards the way of indicating dates, the recommendation adopts the one already prescribed in ICCS Conventions Nos. 1, 15 and 16, which has so far given complete satisfaction.
In accordance with Article 5 of Convention No. 16, dates are therefore to be written in Arabic numerals, denoting successively the day, month and year. The day and the month are to be indicated by two figures, and the year by four figures. The first nine days of the month and the first nine months of the year are to be indicated by numbers running from 01 to 09.
Place of birth - It is for the national regulations of each State to define what is meant by "place of birth". In most States it will be the actual place of birth, but in some it may be the permanent residence or place of origin of the father and mother.
In any case further details, such as the clinic, hospital, hostel or prison, should not be added.
Sex - The need for an express indication of the sex is due to the documentary form, which excludes indirect references such as : son/daughter of...
The sex is also indicated in the forms contained in ICCS Conventions Nos. 1, 15 and 16.
This part contains entries relating to the filiation of the new-born child. They are limited to the surname and forenames of the father and mother and are covered by the rules relating to confidentiality set out in the Rome Convention of 4 November 1950 and the Rome Recommendation of 5 September 1984.
This part is reserved for items peculiar to certain States - such as the place and number of the register of families, the identity number and certain indications concerning the father and mother (date and place of birth, marriage, permanent residence) or the person making the declaration - and for the nationality. The rules relating to confidentiality set out in the above-cited instruments apply to these items too.
This part is of an administrative nature and contains information as to the place and date of registration, the identity of the competent civil registrar and the signatures.
In some States identification of the civil registrar is essential for the purpose of verifying the legality of the record.
Space for subsequent annotations
This blank space at the bottom of the forms is for entering subsequent annotations. Each State is free to use this space to enter the items prescribed by its legislation.
The entries should be made in chronological order without reference to a part of the original form.
2. Record of marriage
Married surname - The indication of the spouses' married surname, which is not provided for in some States, is nevertheless necessary because cases in which this surname no longer derives from automatic application of the law but from formal declarations by the spouses are becoming increasingly numerous. For the same reason ICCS Convention No. 16, signed at Vienna on 8 September 1976, also provides in form B for the married surname to be indicated in extracts from multilingual records of marriage.
In view of the importance of these indications, it is not desirable to relegate them to part 3.
Date and place of marriage - As regards the date and place of marriage, reference should be made to the explanations given above concerning the record of birth.
The date and place of marriage will be the date and place of receipt of the spouses' consent and not those of registration of the marriage.
Reference should be made to the comments made above on part 2 of the record of birth.
Reference should be made to the comments made above on part 3 of the record of birth.
Date and place of registration - It should be pointed out first that the date and place of registration of the marriage shown in part 4 may not be the same as the date and place of marriage shown in part 1.
This is because part 1 should indicate when and where the spouses' consent was received and part 4, when and where the marriage was entered in the register. Under the legislation of some States, that may be a later date, in particular when an authority is empowered to receive the spouses' consent but not to enter the marriage in the register.
Identity of the civil registrar - Reference should be made to the comments made above on part 4 of the record of birth.
The legislation of some States requires that the indication of the civil registrar must also state whether he or she received the spouses' consent or merely registered the marriage.
In view of the importance of the information about the civil registrar, not only for States which have different rules as to the person empowered to receive the spouses' consent and the person empowered to register the marriage but also for other States which have to verify whether the marriage has been lawfully registered, it was decided to keep the entries required to identify the civil registrar in part 4 and not leave them to be dealt with by national legislation.
Reference should be made to the comments made above on subsequent annotations to the record of birth.
3. Record of death
Indication of the sex is important because the sex of the deceased is often a determining factor and cannot always be deduced from the forename. Form C in ICCS Convention No. 16 also includes this item.
The same importance should be attached to the indication of the surname and forenames of the spouse married to the deceased at the time of death.
Date and place of death - Reference should be made to the explanations given above on the date and place of birth, but it should be mentioned that, as regards the place of death, the exact place should be entered in so far as it can be ascertained.
Parts 2 to 4 and subsequent annotations
Reference should be made to the comments made above on the corresponding parts of the record of birth.
Only the French original is authentic.