In October 2014, London-based couple Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan tried to form a civil partnership at their local registry office but were told they were unable to do so as they were a heterosexual couple.


Fast-forward several years and many legal challenges and, in June 2018, the Supreme Court agreed that the Government’s refusal to allow opposite sex couples to have civil partnerships ‘incompatible’ with human rights law.


This case is of particular importance, as there are currently over 3 million cohabiting couples within the UK, with virtually no form of legal protection. Whilst this case exclusively deals with this particular couple only, pressure is now being placed on the government to offer equality and extend the current position to make civil partnerships available for all.


Cohabiting couples would then be offered an option where the same benefits and protections (such as pension options and tax savings) that a marriage provides, could be applied to them.


The law relating to cohabitees has recently seen wide spread attraction, with Resolution, a national organisation of Family Lawyers, promoting a Cohabitation Awareness Week.


Members wrote to, tweeted and met with their local MPs to highlight the current lack of rights available to cohabitees, and so this recent case may assist to shine the light on the existing (lack of) protection for cohabitees and may pave a new way forward for the ever changing landscape of the family set-up.


For further information on cohabitation or advice on any other family related matters please speak to Laura Bell, Associate Solicitor in our Family Law Team on 01256 305507 or email laura.bell@lambbrooks.com


The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice.  The law may have changed since this article was published.   Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.