Unmarried couples should get more rights, says judge

The UK’s leading female judge, Baroness Hale of Richmond, has called for unmarried couples to have the same rights as their married counterparts. Her call follows a Supreme Court ruling ordering a Scottish man to pay his former partner £40,000 after their relationship broke down. Laws giving equal rights regardless of marital status were introduced in Scotland five years ago and had, the Baroness is reported as saying, “achieved a lot for Scottish cohabitants and their children.”

She believes that Scotland’s law has proven to be both practicable and fair, “redressing the gains and losses” that flow in such relationships. The Judge is calling for these rights to be applied to the two million unmarried couples in England and Wales.

Although reform to the law in England and Wales has been recommended by the Law Commission, ministers in Westminster have delayed implementation.

Some believe that the sanctity of marriage would be undermined by changing English and Welsh law on co-habitation. However, the number of people saying “I will” continues to fall leaving the debate as to how to resolve issues between unmarried who then split to rumble on.