Original UK birth certificate

Robin made this Rhyddid Gwybodaeth request to General Register Office

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Roedd y cais yn llwyddiannus.

Dear General Register Office,

I wonder if you could kindly help me.

My parents (English living in the UK) owned a tiny apartment in France but following the death of my mother, my father transferred her share of property to my sibling and me. My father had to send our original birth certificates to the Notaire in France in 2015 in order to complete the transfer.

Fast forward 6 years and my father has since died and we have recently sold French apartment. However the Notaire is refusing to return our original birth certificates despite them being totally useless in France.

My question is, do these French lawyers have the right to withhold our original UK birth certificates?

Thanks in advance.

Yours faithfully,


FOI, General Register Office

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dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

GRO Policy,

Dear Robin


Thank you for your email of 21 June 2021 to the General Register Office
(GRO) regarding your birth certificate.


Your request has been handled as correspondence rather than as a request
for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, although this
does not mean that your enquiry has been actioned any differently or that
the information provided contains any less content or detail.


Whilst I am unable to comment on French law, I can confirm that generally
it would be accepted that the person who paid for the certificate owns it.


It may be helpful if I explain that certified copies of a birth entry
(certificates) can be obtained from either the General Register Office
(GRO) or locally from the register office for the district where the birth
was registered. When applying you will need to provide sufficient
information to identify the entry you require.


Orders for birth certificates from GRO can be made online, by telephone or
by post for a statutory fee. More information about the process and
requirements is available on our website at
[1]https://www.gov.uk/order-copy-birth-deat... .




Kayleigh Roberts


Policy Team

Civil Registration Directorate


Her Majesty's Passport Office, General Register Office Room 01, Smedley
Hydro, Trafalgar Road, Southport, PR8 2HH



dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir


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Dear GRO Policy,

Thank you very much for responding.

It now boils down to the principle in terms of the French law firm assuming they can legally keep our original certificates.

Thank you for clarifying my question.

Yours sincerely,


Gadawodd Ms. S anodiad ()

From your FOI, I assume that the birth certificate was sent to certified as true copy as a form of I.D, officials only keep a birth certificate when its falsified. if you have obtained a copy of your birth of certificate since then simply photocopy it and if the watermarks appear on the photocopy then it was a genuine copy and this could be used as an argument in your plea to retrieve your original certificate; if the photocopy doesn't resemble the exact copy your birth certificate that's probably why they kept it.