Monday, August 18, 2008

Misconception and Misconceived?

A couple of stories that I picked up today via Current Awareness:

First, the BBC reports that the Ministry of Justice has launched a campaign to stress to cohabiting partners that they do not have the same rights as married couples if they separate or one of them dies: "According to a survey into social attitudes, 50.7% of people think that couples who have lived together for a while have the same rights as married or civil partners and that a 'common law marriage' has recognised legal status. They also wrongly believe that by having a child together they acquire legal rights." I'm going to make the obvious point: instead of pointing this out, why don't the Government get on with acting on the Law Commission’s proposals for the introduction of legal protection for cohabitees, as I've mentioned previously?

Secondly, the Independent reports that Justice Minister Bridget Prentice has announced the publication of a study evaluating some of the measures in the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004, and that the study indicates that reforms to protect people from domestic violence brought in by the Act have failed to increase criminal convictions against perpetrators of domestic violence. The results of the study come as no surprise - see my previous post on this subject, and the comments to it.


  1. My understanding is that as well as gaining some rights by marrying, you also gain some responsibilities. Some people don't want either, and so they cohabit. Making cohabitation equivalent to marriage would piss those people off A Lot, forcing them to either take responsibilities that neither partner wants, or to split up. And never mind cohabitees that aren't just a couple.

  2. Under the Law Commission's proposals, couples would be able to opt-out, if they wished.


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