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The Rights of Cohabiting Partners

Inquiry

Cohabiting partners make up the fastest growing type of family, with over 3.4 million partners cohabiting in England or Wales. People in romantic relationships who cohabit currently have less legal protection than those who are married or in a civil partnership in the event of death or separation. Despite this, there is a widespread perception that cohabiting partners have similar or identical rights to those who are married or in a civil partnership.

The Women and Equalities Committee will be investigating the equalities issues around cohabitation, how cohabitation rights could be strengthened and what legal protection for cohabitants could look like and how this might be introduced. We want to hear from a range of people and organisations on how the rights of cohabiting partners can be strengthened and what legal reform is necessary to provide further protection.

This inquiry will focus on the rights of those in romantic relationships who live together, otherwise known as cohabiting partners or couples.

If you require additional support or advice on the current rights of cohabiting partners, you may wish to contact Citizens Advice on 03444 111 444.

Committees of the House of Commons are not able to take up individual cases but if you would like political support or advice you may wish to contact your local MP.

This inquiry is no longer accepting evidence

The deadline for submissions was 4 July 2021. The terms of reference are still available to view.

Reports, special reports and government responses

No reports or special reports published.

Oral evidence transcripts

View all oral evidence transcripts
2 February 2022
Inquiry The Rights of Cohabiting Partners
Witnesses Law Commission
Committees Women and Equalities Committee
Oral Evidence
2 February 2022
Inquiry The Rights of Cohabiting Partners
Witnesses Ministry of Justice, Government Equalities Office, and Ministry of Justice
Committees Women and Equalities Committee
Oral Evidence
5 January 2022
Inquiry The Rights of Cohabiting Partners
Witnesses Jens Scherpe (Professor of Comparative Law at University of Cambridge), Professor Margaret Briggs (Professor of Law at University of Otago), Kate Dowdalls QC (Commissioner at Scottish Law Commission), and Dr Kathryn O’Sullivan (Senior Lecturer of Law at the School of Law at University of Limerick)
Committees Women and Equalities Committee
Oral Evidence
HAB0387 - The Rights of Cohabiting Partners
Witnesses Tom Pursglove MP
Committees Women and Equalities Committee
Written Evidence
HAB0386 - The Rights of Cohabiting Partners
Witnesses Mike Freer MP
Committees Women and Equalities Committee
Written Evidence
HAB0383 - The Rights of Cohabiting Partners
Witnesses Professor Margaret Briggs
Committees Women and Equalities Committee
Written Evidence

Other publications

No other publications published.

Contact us

We cannot help you with an individual problem or specific complaint.

  • Email: womeqcom@parliament.uk
  • Phone: (General enquiries) 020 7219 8204 / (Media enquiries) 020 7219 1708
  • Address: Committee Office, House of Commons, Palace of Westminster, SW1A 0AA