New Act impacts birth, death certificates

Practitioners should be aware the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 2023 (BDMR Act) commences today, 24 June 2024 affecting application requirements.

The BDMR Act and the new Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Regulation 2024 (Qld) (BDMR Regulation) ensures life event registration services in Queensland remain relevant, responsive and contemporary.

The key objectives of the BDMR Act are to: strengthen the legal recognition of trans and gender diverse people; better recognise contemporary family and parenting structures; facilitate improvements in the operations of the registry; support fraud prevention and minimise misuse of the life event system; and clarify the information collection, use and sharing powers of the registrar.

Altering a person’s record of sex

The BDMR Act will improve the legal recognition of trans and gender diverse people by removing the requirement that a person must have undergone sexual reassignment surgery to alter their record of sex, and instead establishing a new framework based on a person’s self-declaration of their lived identity.

Once a person has altered their record of sex with the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages (RBDM), this becomes their legal sex in Queensland for all purposes, unless another law states otherwise. Queensland law will also recognise certificates from other States altering a person’s sex.

Entitlements under will, trust, or law are not lost if a person alters their sex, unless expressly stated.

The BDMR Act considers a person’s sex to be sensitive information and there are restrictions on who can access information about a person’s previously recorded sex.

By default, sex will not be included on a birth certificate, unless it is specifically requested, and sex descriptors will not be limited to ‘male’ or ‘female’. Any descriptor of a person’s sex (including non-binary descriptors) will be permitted, provided it is not a ‘prohibited sex descriptor’.

New acknowledgement of sex and recognised details certificate applications

The BDMR Act introduces new processes for altering a person’s sex under Queensland law. The Acknowledgment of Sex application allows a person who was born or adopted in Queensland to alter the sex recorded on their Queensland Birth Certificate.


For people born or adopted outside Queensland, they can apply for a Recognised Details Certificate to obtain legal recognition of the sex they identify as, provided they have lived in Queensland for 12 consecutive months.

A person will be able to change their first and middle names as part of the same application process, however applicants born in another Australian State or Territory must apply to the registry where they were born, to change their name.

If a child is under 16 years, their parents or persons with parental responsibility must make the application on their behalf, otherwise a court order is required.

A person 16 years or older can apply on their own behalf. Children under 16 years must be assessed by a developmentally informed practitioner to confirm they understand the meaning and legal implications of altering their record of sex.

Changes to birth and death certificates

On a birth certificate, parents will be able to choose their preferred parental descriptor of ‘mother’, ‘father’ or ‘parent’, and older half-siblings can now be recorded on their younger sibling’s birth certificate. A younger sibling’s birth record may be updated after a child joins the family through a legal transfer of parentage (such as adoption).

On a death certificate, current and past de facto relationships of the deceased can be recorded, affording the same recognition to de facto partners as marriage or civil partnership relationships.

A ‘known as’ section will be added on the death registration application form, which allows RBDM to record the legal name of the deceased, in addition to another name the deceased was known by in the wider community at the time of their passing.

Additionally, two types of death certificates will be offered – the standard death certificate that includes the person’s cause of death and burial/cremation details, and a ‘limited’ death certificate that omits these details.


Organisations require a death certificate to verify the person is deceased but often do not need to know their cause of death or burial/cremation details. This new type of death certificate will support the privacy of the deceased’s family when providing the certificate to third parties.

The Queensland Law Society’s Succession Law Committee advocated for this change in 2022. The Government noted that the introduction death certificates without cause of death would have a positive impact on the community.

Certificate Access Policy

The Registry of Births, Deaths, and Marriages has issued a new Certificate Access Policy, which also took effect from 24 June 2024.

Solicitors applying for access to the Registry’s records, such as when requesting a Death Certificate, are required to provide the following identification:

  • A signed letter on company letterhead clearly stating the reason for access (including details of their client’s identity, the legal matter involving their client, and the relevance of the certificate)
  • A certified copy of their practising certificate or Law Society card
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One Response

  1. Will BDM accept a sole practitioner’scertification of their own practising certificate?

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