Cohabitation and Intestacy: Public Opinion and Law Reform

23 Pages Posted: 24 Oct 2011

See all articles by Catherine Williams

Catherine Williams

University of Sheffield

Garfield Gary Potter

London South Bank University

Gillian Douglas

The Dickson Poon School of Law

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: October 24, 2011

Abstract

In 2007, in its Final Report on the financial consequences of cohabitation, the Law Commission decided not to recommend any changes to the intestacy rules to cover for the situation where a cohabitant’s partner dies. However, in June 2008, it announced that it would undertake a general review of this area of the law. This article reviews the current law and reports on a large survey of public opinion on the position of surviving cohabitants, conducted by students at the Universities of Sheffield and Cardiff. The findings clearly show that a large majority of the general public would support some automatic provision being made for a surviving cohabitant, with a greater share being felt appropriate both the longer the relationship had lasted and if the partners had had children. It is concluded that, given what we believe to be the current unfair state of the law, coupled with the high levels of support for provision from the general public, the Law Commission should examine very thoroughly the scope and feasibility of extending the intestacy rules to cover surviving cohabitants.

Keywords: cohabitation, intestacy, family law

Suggested Citation

Williams, Catherine and Potter, Garfield Gary and Douglas, Gillian, Cohabitation and Intestacy: Public Opinion and Law Reform (October 24, 2011). Child and Family Law Quarterly, Vol. 20, No. 4, pp. 499-521, 2008, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1948553

Catherine Williams (Contact Author)

University of Sheffield ( email )

17 Mappin Street
Sheffield, Sheffield S1 4DT
United Kingdom

Garfield Gary Potter

London South Bank University ( email )

103 Borough Road
London, Greater London SE1 OAA
United Kingdom

Gillian Douglas

The Dickson Poon School of Law ( email )

Somerset House East Wing
Strand Campus
London, WC2R 2LS
United Kingdom
+44 (0)2078481367 (Phone)

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
2
Abstract Views
547
PlumX Metrics