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Family Law

The leading authority on all aspects of family law

08 DEC 2014

The future of civil partnerships in England and Wales (£)

The future of civil partnerships in England and Wales (£)
Dr Ruth Gaffney-Rhys, University of South Wales

The Civil Partnership Review (England and Wales), which was launched in January 2014, set out three proposals for reforming the Civil Partnership Act 2004.

The options were: to abolish civil partnerships entirely; to stop the formation of new civil partnerships but retain existing ones or to extend civil partnerships to opposite sex couples. The responses to the consultation were published in June 2014 and because there was ‘no loud call for change’ the Government has decided that no reform of the law relating to civil partnerships will take place at present. Part of the reason for this is that the consultation was regarded as premature, given that same-sex marriage had not been introduced when the consultation opened. The matter may, therefore, be revisited in the future.

This article considers the implications of implementing the three proposals and of retaining the status quo. It concludes that inaction is inappropriate, as retaining civil partnerships for same-sex couples only, disadvantages them, as well as opposite-sex couples who would like to form a civil partnership rather than marry.


The full version of this article appears in the December 2014 issue of Family Law.

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