The law requires an applicant to give an adequate reason for access to the information kept by the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages Victoria (BDM). The Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages (the Registrar) may reject an application that does not give an adequate reason.

Access to a standard certificate (such as a birth certificate)

In deciding whether a person has an adequate reason for access to a certificate (such as a birth certificate), the Registrar will have regard to:

  • The relationship (if any) between the person applying for the information and the person to whom the information relates
  • Whether the information falls within a restricted period (For further information see: Access to information is restricted for specific periods)
  • The contents of that information
  • Other relevant factors.

An ‘adequate reason’ to obtain a standard certificate might include to:

  • Apply for your birth certificate in order to apply for your drivers’ licence, your passport or to get married
  • Obtain your child’s birth certificate (if your child is under 18)
  • Enable a lawyer to act on behalf of their client (with their client’s permission).

Access to information that cannot be used for proof of identity purposes (such as a commemorative certificate)

In deciding whether a person has an adequate reason for access to information that cannot be used for proof of identity purposes (such as a commemorative certificate), the Registrar has regard to the same factors as above for access to a standard certificate.

An ‘adequate reason’ to obtain a commemorative certificate might include to:

  • Obtain your child’s commemorative birth certificate as a keepsake or gift to others if your child is under 18. (Please note, BDM recommends that standard certificates not be given as gifts to others)
  • Obtain your grandchild’s commemorative birth certificate to give to the child’s parents as a keepsake or gift (with the permission of the child’s parents if the child is under 18 or with the permission of the child if the child is 18 or older).

Access to information (such as data relating to an individual or many people)

In deciding whether a person or organisation has an adequate reason for access to information kept by BDM, the Registrar will have regard to:

  • The nature of the applicant’s interest
  • The sensitivity of the information
  • The use to be made of the information
  • Other relevant factors.

An ‘adequate reason’ for this kind of access might include:

  • Statistical or research purposes (with Human Research Ethics Committee approval)
  • Administrative purposes (for example, for data validation, legislative compliance or law enforcement)

For more information contact us using our contact form and include ‘data sharing principles’ in your message.