In the United Kingdom, mandatory civil registration of births, marriages, and deaths was first introduced in 1837 for England and Wales. Subsequent legislation introduced similar systems in Ireland (all of which was then part of the United Kingdom), and Scotland.
The administration of individual registration districts is the responsibility of registrars in the relevant local authority. There is also a national body for each jurisdiction. The local offices are generally responsible both for maintaining the original registers and for providing copies to the national body for central retention. A superintendent registrar facilitates the legal preliminaries to marriage, conducts civil marriage ceremonies and retains in his/her custody all completed birth, death and marriage registers for the district. The office of the superintendent registrar is the district Register office, often referred to (wrongly) in the media as the "Registry office".
Today, both officers may also conduct statutory civil partnership preliminaries and ceremonies, citizenship ceremonies and other non statutory ceremonies such as naming or renewal of vows. Certified copies of the entries made by the registrars over the years are issued on a daily basis either for genealogical research or for modern legal purposes such as supporting passport applications or ensuring eligibility for the appropriate junior sports leagues.
On 1st December 2007 Registrars and Superintendent Registrars became employees of their local authority for the first time following the enactment of the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007.