Written evidence from Ralph Kinch [HAB0051]

 

In the introduction to this consultation it states “In 2007, the Law Commission published a report on the financial consequences of the breakdown of cohabitant relationships and recommended law reform.” However, since then the Government has introduce civil partnerships for those who wish to co-habit, avoid marriage and yet want to make a commitment to each other. Also, within marriage the law has already been changed to allow no religious element and same sex marriage.

 

If further law reform is proposed, which I personally perceive to be completely unnecessary, it has the potential to be used in cases where the individuals involved chose to neither marry or have a civil partnership specifically because they wanted to avoid any commitment. How could the law be framed so as to avoid spurious claims by people who chose to share a house or lodge in a house yet were not “co-habiting”.

 

It should also be noted that public commitment resulting in marriage gives significant societal benefits, including longer more stable relationships which benefit both individuals, employers and any resulting children. No religious element needs to be involved at all, with marriage law reformed to allow for completely secular arrangement. Giving legal rights to co-habitees will removes a significant incentive to make a public and lasting commitment.

 

Many of the legal rights included within marriage stem from the fact that it is intended to be a lifelong commitment. Such legal rights would be inappropriate for temporary relationships, though if someone does wish to make a permanent legal commitment via a will there is nothing to stop them from doing so.

 

The case might have been valid in 2007, but with all the legal changes since, reform is no longer necessary or required.

 

June 2021