The laws relating to "approved premises" are intended to allow proceedings to take place regularly in hotels, stately homes, civic halls and similar premises without compromising the fundamental principles of English law and Parliament's intention to maintain the solemnity of the occasion.
The premises must be a permanently immovable structure comprising at least a room or any boat or other vessel which is permanently moored. Any premises in the open air, a tent, marquee or any other temporary structure and most forms of transport, would not be eligible for approval.
The premises must not be religious premises as defined by section 6(2) of the Civil Partnership Act 2004. These are premises which are used solely or mainly for religious purposes or which have been used solely or mainly for religious purposes and have not been subsequently used for other purposes. A building that is certified for public worship would fall into this category as would a chapel in a stately home or hospice.
The application must be made by the proprietor or trustee of the premises. When made on behalf of a limited company there should be a separate statement of the names and addresses of all the directors.
The application must be in writing (including by electronic means) and include:
- the name and address of the applicant
- copies of any licences issued under the Licensing Act 2003
- a plan of the premises which clearly identifies the room or rooms in which the proceedings will occur, including those intended as a contingency
A fee of £1000 (£500 for certain organisations) will be payable on application.