An extension to civil partnership

Giles Robinson, Family Law Partner, reports on the extension of civil partnerships.

Since 2005 same sex couples have been able to enter into a civil partnership. At the same time, civil partners acquired the same legal status as married couples with regard to financial provision on the breakdown of their relationships.

A number of family lawyers anticipated that parliament would opt to halt the creation of any new civil partnerships after same sex couples were permitted to marry in 2014. That, however, was not the case.

In 2018, in a judicial review heard by the Supreme Court, it was held that precluding couples of the opposite sex from entering into a civil partnership was incompatible with Article 14 (prohibition against discrimination) read in conjunction with Article 8 (a right to private and family life) of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Pursuant to the Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration etc) Act, by 31st December this year civil partnership must extend to include couples who are not of the same sex. This means that both homosexual couples and heterosexual couples will have the option of marriage or civil partnership available to them if they wish to pursue either of these.

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