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Cohabitation: government shelves Law Commission reforms of property rights

The government has announced that it will not be taking forward the Law Commission’s recommendations for reform of the law governing the property rights of unmarried cohabiting couples during the life of the current Parliament. It is unclear whether the government intends to implement the proposals in a future Parliament, although one reason given for the decision was that the family justice system is currently in a transitional period, with major reforms on the horizon. This perhaps suggests that the government is not rejecting the reforms completely.

The previous government asked the Law Commission to examine the case for reform of the law in this area in 2005. The Law Commission published a report in July 2007 recommending reform. Responding to the government’s latest announcement, the Law Commission has expressed the hope that the government will not delay the reforms beyond the early days of the next Parliament in view of the hardship and injustice caused by the current law.

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