About the Family Law Week blog

The Family Law Week Blog is a companion site to Family Law Week. It complements the news, cases and articles published on Family Law Week with additional comment and coverage of the wider aspects of family law.

The Blog is edited by Jacqui Gilliatt, of 4 Brick Court and Lucy Reed, of St Johns Chambers.

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Cohabitation reform in abeyance

Justice Minister Bridget Prentice has made a
written ministerial statement
announcing the government's response to the Law Commission's paper on the financial consequences of relationship breakdown for cohabiting couples.

The statement in full reads as follows:

"The Law Commission published their very thorough and high quality report on 31 July 2007. It makes recommendations to government on certain aspects of the law relating to cohabitants. It considers the financial consequences of cohabiting relationships ending either by separation or death. It follows two years of work by the Law Commission.

The report has been carefully considered and the government has decided it wishes to seek research findings on the Family Law (Scotland) Act 2006, which came into effect last year. This Act has provisions which are similar in many respects to those which the Commission recommends.

The Scottish Executive intend to undertake research to discover the cost of such a scheme and its efficacy in resolving the issues faced by cohabitants when their relationships end.

The government propose to await the outcome of this research and extrapolate from it the likely cost to this jurisdiction of bringing into effect the scheme proposed by the Law Commission and the likely benefits it will bring. For the time being, therefore, the government will take no further action.

The decision has been reached because of the need for government to obtain accurate estimates of the financial impact of any new legislation and the likelihood that we can obtain a view of financial impact by drawing on the Scottish experience of similar law reform."

Refreshingly honest, at least. And a breathing space before we all have to understand some new system. Unless, of course, you live in Scotland.

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