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Policy FAQs

This page contains answers to some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about BDM's policies and applications.
 


 

What is a record?
A record is an entry held in the registers relating to a birth, marriage, relationship, change of name, adoption or death. Information relating to records may be released as a certificate or in other forms. Access to records is governed by a number of Acts and policies.
What is the Access Policy?
The Access Policy defines the conditions an individual or organisation must satisfy in order to gain access to records held by the Registry, and the manner in which the Registry will release the requested information. It also details which records are restricted and over what time period.
How long are records restricted?

Under the Registry's Access Policy, the following restriction periods apply:

  • birth and change of name records are restricted from public access for 100 years or until the person has passed away, whichever is the later
  • marriage records are restricted from public access for 60 years or until both parties to the marriage have passed away, whichever is the later
  • relationship records are restricted from public access for 60 years or until both parties to the relationship have passed away, whichever is the later
  • death records are restricted from public access for 10 years.
Who can access a restricted record?

Generally, only the following people can access a restricted record:

  • the registered person (the person to whom the record relates)
  • the registered person's parent, non-parental guardian or legal custodian (for birth or death records if the registered person is under 18)
  • the registered person's next-of-kin (for death records only)
  • the registered person's Power of Attorney (you will need to provide a document establishing Power of Attorney)
  • the registered person's legal practitioner (you will need to register your details as a legal practitioner and provide proof of identification and proof that you represent an eligible applicant)
  • the funeral director registering a death (on behalf of the next-of-kin).

If a person does not meet these eligibility requirements, they must seek third party authority from the registered person or next-of-kin (where the registered person is deceased).

What is third party authority?

Third party authority allows a person to access a restricted record they are not normally eligible to access.

Authority for a third party to access a particular record can be granted by the:

  • person to whom the record relates (birth, change of name, marriage and relationship records)
  • parent, non-parental guardian or legal custodian of the person to whom the record relates (birth or death records where the registered person is under the age of 18)
  • next-of-kin, executor, administrator or trustee of the person to whom the record relates (death records and birth or marriage records where the registered person is deceased).
How do I apply for access to a record using third party authority?

To apply for access to another person's record using third party authority, you need to provide:

  • a completed application form, including the reason you require the certificate
  • a third party authority form that has been completed by the registered person or other eligible applicant
  • your own proof of identity documents (see the application form for details)
  • the proof of identity documents of the person granting you authority (the same types of documents as you must provide, see the application form for details)
  • the required application fee.
Do I need third party authority to access my child's birth record?

You do not need third party authority to access your child’s birth record if your child is under the age of 18 and you are:

  • one of the parents named on the birth record, or
  • the child's non-parental guardian (evidence of guardianship will be required), or
  • the child's legal custodian (evidence of custody will be required).

If your child is 18 years of age or over, you will need their authority to access their birth record.

Can my application to access a record be refused?
Yes. The Registrar has the power to refuse to grant access to records if the applicant does not meet the Registry's requirements as identified in the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 1996 and the Access Policy.
How do I appeal a decision made by the Registrar?

You can write to the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages, explaining why you believe the decision should be changed. You can do this online through the Registry's feedback form, or you can mail your letter to:

Victorian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages
Attn: The Registrar
GPO Box 4332
MELBOURNE VIC 3001

The Registrar will review your application and decide whether to approve or reject the application.

If your interests are affected by a decision of the Registrar, you may take further action by contacting the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) (external link) within 28 days of the decision being made. Contact details for VCAT are as follows:

Address      55 King Street, MELBOURNE VIC 3000
Phone (03) 9628 9755
Fax (03) 9628 9891