UK – Cohabitants should have scope for financial redress in the event of a relationship breakdown, warns Law Society

Commenting on the government’s refusal to enact legislation on cohabitation in this Parliament the Law Society says reform of cohabitation law is badly needed as cohabitants should have proper redress in the event of a relationship breakdown, when their financial and property rights need to be adjusted.

The Law Society has long supported reform of cohabitation law and it supports the Law Commission’s proposals for legislation in this area.

Responding this week to the Government’s refusal to enact legislation Law Society President John Wotton said this area of law is in need of reform to provide a more rational and structured system than exists at present.

“The Law Society believes that the current legislative framework for cohabitation is unnecessarily expensive, and that reforms to it could reduce costs, free up time for the Courts, and provide separating couples with a more satisfactory experience.

“The government’s response is that the family justice system is already under review. However the Family Justice Review specifically excludes ancillary relief; the financial proceedings surrounding the separation of a couple, let alone cohabitation law, which remains dealt with under civil – not family – rules.

“One of the roles of the law is to protect the vulnerable. The law that currently exists for cohabitants is disjointed and grossly inadequate.  Solicitors practising family law regularly see injustice when cohabiting couples’  relationships break down.  Unmarried couples who are living together and those who are still married, but are now living with a new partner, need to know where they stand in the event of a break-up.”


Notes to Editors:
Contact: Catherine Reed, The Law Society
+44 (0)20 7320 5902

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