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IN THE CHAMBER
A Private Member‟s Bill granting legal rights to cohabiting couples when they
break up or one partner dies was this week published by
Lord Jonathan Marks
Last month‟s federal party conference in Glasgow voted to adopt a motion calling for the
implementation of the proposals made by the Law Commission in 2007 and 2011, giving cohabiting
couples “fair and reasonable redress”. Lord Marks‟
rights for couples who live together for the first time. The number of couples in the UK cohabitingincreased from less than 3m in 1996 to 5.9m last year. 38% have children.
Lord Marks said: “Increasing numbers of people are choosing to live together rather than getting
married or having a civil partnership and they deserve fair treatment. For far too long nothing hasbeen done to give cohabiting couples fair treatment when they break up or one partner dies.
“There is a widespread belief that couples who live together get some rights in law as so
law spouses‟. But that is a complete myth. My Bill will bring in the
Law Commission‟sproposals made in 2007 and 2011 to give couples who live together some legal rights.”
Under Lord Marks‟ Bill, cohabiting couples would not be treated the same as married couples but
would have some protection against being taken advantage of when their relationships break downand against being left destitute when one partner dies without a will. It received its first reading onWednesday and was published the following day.