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Same Sex Marriage and Civil Partnerships

The New Law


Provides an authoritative commentary, highlighting areas of potential difficulty and offering practical guidance.

Paperback i

Book printed softcover

This New Law Guide examines the legal changes introduced by the Civil Partnership Act 2004 and the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013, and the rights and responsibilities that are afforded to those who register under the scheme, as well as examining the law as it relates to cohabitants, so that the legislation can be seen in context. The CPA 2004 makes provision for Scotland and Northern Ireland but this work confines its analysis to the implications for the law of England and Wales of the CPA 2004 and the MSSCA 2013. It includes an analysis of some of the parliamentary debates, many of which will be relevant in future arguments about the meaning of the statute, in accordance with the rule in Pepper (Inspector of Taxes) v Hart. In addition, there is consideration of some wider material for the purpose of evaluating compatibility of the legislation with Convention rights, including the value judgments inherent in the test of proportionality as suggested in Wilson v First County Trust Ltd. Appendices contain the full text of the MSSCA 2013 and relevant extracts from the CPA 2004.

Same Sex Marriage & Civil Partnerships - The New Law provides an authoritative commentary, highlighting areas of potential difficulty and offering practical guidance, and will be essential reading for all family lawyers, housing lawyers and also chancery practitioners dealing with inheritance claims.
  • Introduction
  • The Context: LGBT Law Reform
  • The Genesis and Scope of the Civil Partnership Act 2004
  • The Genesis and Scope of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013
  • Registration, Conversion of Civil Partnerships, Recognition of Overseas Relationships, Divorce & Dissolution
  • Religious Ceremonies
  • Financial Consequences of Termination
  • Parents and Children
  • Immigration and Asylum
  • Rights and Responsibilities
  • Incapacity and Death
"Nine years after the Civil Partnership Act 2004 (CPA), the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 (MSSCA) came into force in March 2014, only four months ago as we write this review. How commendable then – and certainly useful for the legal profession – that, as part of their New Law series, Jordan Publishing Limited has produced this scholarly, detailed and readable book on these two major pieces of legislation, the latter of which can be considered brand new."

"There is much to admire in this volume including its research resources.  In addition to the tables of cases, statutes and statutory instruments, the text of the MSSCA is published in its entirety in the appendix which also includes relevant extracts of the CPA."

"The book is aimed at, and will be immensely helpful to, a range of specialist lawyers, including family lawyers, housing, immigration and asylum lawyers and chancery lawyers handling or advising on inheritance claims."

An appreciation by Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers 
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"This is an extremely timely and very interesting book whose depth and breadth goes way beyond its title. Written accessibly, well researched and with really excellent historical content, interesting political context setting and very informative detail and analysis of the law, it very clearly addresses the statue and case-law in this area. As the book rightly states, it is impossible to cover same-sex marriage and civil partnerships without looking at all of the other complex and interlinked issues and the book goes in to depth with chapters on registrations and conversions to civil partnership, divorce and dissolution, religious ceremonies, financial consequences of termination, parents and children, immigration and asylum and incapacity and death as well as an excellent consideration of the underpinning human rights issues involved."

Cris McCurley Partner, BenHoareBell Solicitors
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In this book we aim to explain the new law on same sex marriage and civil partnership, drawing where appropriate, on statute and case law and, in particular, the relevant European Convention of Human Rights jurisprudence. The purpose of the book is to place the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 (MSSCA 2013) and Civil Partnership Act 2004 (CPA 2004) into context. So far as the latter Act is concerned, the aim is to provide perspective and such guidance as is possible into its likely meaning, consequences and difficulties. In addition the book examines the position of cohabitees left outside the civil partnership regime – by choice or otherwise. It is aimed at solicitors and barristers who practise in family, immigration, asylum, housing and chancery (as it relates to the intestacy provisions) as well as all those concerned with public (including equality) law. It is also designed to provide guidance to those who have to administer the new law including all with responsibility for the registration of marriages and deaths and those concerned with drawing up employment and other policies which are concerned with family relationships – for example, those in the NHS and Prison Service.

The CPA 2004 and the MSSCA 2013 are both major pieces of legislation. This book concentrates on the law as it concerns England and Wales and the text of the entirety of the MSSCA 2013 and relevant extracts of the CPA 2004 can found as an appendix to this book. Additionally at 5.50 we have published a table setting out the similarities and differences between civil partnerships and same sex marriage provided with the kind consent of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. The text of the book draws on the explanatory notes, discussion papers and submissions that were sent to the government in preparation for the Bill as well as the parliamentary debates.

The CPA 2004 came into force on 5 December 2005. The MSSCA 2013 came into force, at least in part, on 13 March 2014. Statutory Instruments have been approved which allow same sex couples to give notice of their intention to marry from 13 March 2014. Work is continuing on the secondary legislation required to permit civil partnerships to be converted into marriages.

We are extremely grateful to Greg Woodgate, Kate Hather, Diane Acon, and Jessica Roberts at Jordan Publishing for their help and guidance. We are also very grateful to Tracy Robinson for dealing with our text and getting it into proper order and being patient when cases sometimes intruded. We are also indebted to those at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and Women and Equality Unit for their assistance in answering our queries. However, should this book contain any error it is entirely of our own making and for which we accept full responsibility.

The law is stated as it stood on 28 March 2014.

Mark Harper
S Chelvan
Martin Downs
Katharine Landells
Gerald Wilson

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