Family Lore Clinic: Is there an alienation of affection law in the UK?

A quick one this week.

'Alienation of affection' is a term used to describe a legal action that may be brought by a spouse against a third party who they believe is responsible for the breakdown of their marriage, most commonly used where the third party is alleged to have had an adulterous relationship with the other spouse.

The action is available in some US states, but it is not available in this country. The 'innocent' spouse has no redress against the third party (save, I suppose, that they could claim the costs of any divorce against them, not that I'm recommending such a course of action).

(I should point out that I am only qualified in England and Wales, but I'm pretty sure that alienation of affection claims are not available elsewhere in the UK.)


  1. Actions for damages for adultery were abolished in 1970 by the same Act which abolished actions for breach of promise of marriage.


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