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Julian Washington, Partner, Forsters LLP. According to The Times of 4 September 2006 two elderly sisters who live together are bringing a case in the European Court of Human Rights in order to obtain the same inheritance tax rights as same-sex couples. Joyce and Sybil Burden (88 and 80 years of age respectively) have lived together since birth. Their contention is that cohabiting siblings should have the same rights as married couples, ie exemption for the surviving partner from inheritance tax liability. The Civil Partnership Act 2004 extended that right to cohabiting same-sex couples but not to cohabiting family members. Their case is due to be heard by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg on 12 September 2006. On 31 May 2006 the Law Commission published a consultation paper Cohabitation: The Financial Consequences of Relationship Breakdown which specifically excludes blood relatives and carers. See October  Fam Law for the full news article.
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