Martine Hardwick, Lecturer in Law and PhD Candidate in the Department of Humanities and Law, has published a timely commentary in the Bournemouth University Law Review looking ahead to a change in the law on 31 December 2019. On this date, opposite sex couples will finally be able to register their civil partnerships – which until now has been reserved for same sex couples.
However, this change in the law raises important questions for cohabiting couples. Despite longing for more protection and fairness from the law, co-habiting couples will not be presented with the opportunity as heterosexual couples to celebrate on New Year’s Eve. Instead, they will still be bound by the strict rules of formation and dissolution which mirror those of marriage.
Questioning whether the UK has missed an opportunity to provide more rights for cohabiting couples and highlighting a solution drawn from France in the form of Pacte Civil de Solidarité (PACS), Martine argues that learning lessons from the French legal system has to be the way forward in giving cohabitants protection while respecting their autonomy.