Cohabitation: Joanne Edwards sets out the arguments for and against reform, following the Law Commission’s recent paper

"Fate has not been kind to her", said lord Justice May in Burns v Burns [1984] Ch 317, which involved a woman who had lived with her unmarried partner of 19 years as husband and wife, raised their two children and thereby reduced her earning capacity, and yet failed to establish any interest in the house in which they lived together.

But the judge felt he could not redress the apparent unfairness:

'When one compares this ultimate result with what it would have been had she been married to the respondent'¦ she can justifiably say that fate has not been kind to her. In my opinion, however, the remedy for any inequity she may have su...

Jean-Yves Gilg
Solicitors Journal

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