I posted a few days ago about the Law Commission's proposal that cohabitants should have an entitlement on intestacy. My good friend John Hirst of Jailhouselawyer's Blog has drawn my attention to this article in The Times, in which Ross Clark (left) argues against the proposal, saying that: "For any cohabiting couples who don’t like the inheritance laws there is a simple answer — get married."
The whole issue of cohabitants' rights raises strong feelings, especially amongst those who are against. Most family lawyers are in favour, as they have seen first hand the injustices that the lack of rights can cause. It is all very well saying "if you don't like it, get married", but this raises the fundamental question of whether the law should be used as a tool to control how people conduct their relationships. Personally, I do not think that it should, or even that it could - in a free society, at least. If people want to live their lives in a certain way (and it is not that they can't be bothered to get married, as Clark suggests) then they should be free to do so. The law should react to changes in society (rather than try to control them) and ensure that injustices do not happen as a result of those changes.