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.