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Posts Tagged ‘marriage’

Civil Partnership Bill Second Stage Debate Highlights

December 7, 2009 4 comments

December 3  saw the second stage debate on the Civil Partnership Bill 2009, which will establish new schemes for the legal recognition of co-habiting couples and same-sex civil partnerships.  The Bill, in Minister Dermot Ahern’s words:

creates for the first time in Irish law a scheme under which a same sex couple can formally declare their allegiance to each other, register their partnership under new provisions in the Civil Registration Act 2004, commit themselves to a range of duties and responsibilities and at the same time be subject under new law to a series of protections in the course of their partnership in the event of a failure of either party to maintain the other and in the event of disputes between them as to ownership of property.

Such a couple will have additional protections in the event of violence between them in their home and new rights to succeed to the property of each other are also being established. In the event of a dissolution of the partnership, there will be considerable protections in place for a dependent partner, where necessary, by way of power to the court to order maintenance, to order financial relief by way of lump sum payment, to redistribute the ownership of property between them and to provide for transfer of rights between them under any pension scheme of which either is a member. Where a person dies after dissolution of a civil partnership, the court may order provision from the estate of the deceased for his or her surviving former partner…

…The Bill will substantially change the legal landscape for same-sex couples. As well as dealing with many vital and pressing legal difficulties experienced by same-sex couples, including maintenance, pension provision, protection of tenancies, their shared home and succession, it will also address very practical matters for same-sex partners. The Bill ensures they will be always entitled to visit if one is hospitalised, can be treated as next-of-kin and on the death of a partner are entitled to notify the death and arrange the funeral. Gay and lesbian organisations deal daily with problems about which most of us never have to think but which routinely arise for gay couples or a surviving partner. These can range from the inability to access State benefits like the carer’s allowance to care for a seriously ill partner, to a man’s additional grief that his partner is recorded on his death certificate as being single, an official denial of thirty years of life together….

[The Bill will also] provide protection in the law to long-term cohabiting couples and a safety net for an economically dependent cohabitant at the end of the relationship on break-up or on death.

On break-up, a financially dependent cohabitant may apply to court for maintenance from the other cohabitant, possibly for a pension adjustment order or a property adjustment order. If the relationship ends on death, a dependent cohabitant may apply to court for provision from the estate of the deceased if, as often happens, no provision is made for the surviving cohabitant. The courts will have a substantial discretion in considering such applications.

The Bill recognises the right and capacity of couples to freely choose the legal form their personal relationships will take and the legal consequences of this choice. Some couples will prefer to opt out of the redress scheme. We should respect their autonomy to choose not to regulate their relationships. The Bill addresses this by providing for the legal recognition of cohabitants’ agreements made by couples regulating their joint property or financial affairs. At the same time, it is important to achieve a balance between interfering in personal autonomy and protecting vulnerable persons. The Bill strikes that balance by providing that the courts in exceptional circumstances can vary or set aside a cohabitants’ agreement where its enforcement would cause serious injustice.

You can read our previous coverage of the Bill here. Although the Bill will have serious implications for tax and social welfare, these reforms will be part of separate future Bills.

Read more…

Civil Partnership Bill Second Stage This Evening

December 3, 2009 4 comments

The second stage debate on the Civil Partnership Bill takes place this evening starting from 6.45 pm. We have already blogged about the bill herehere and here. Maman Poulet has been providing excellent coverage of the politics around the Bill here. Of particular interest is discussion of the addition of a so-called ‘religious freedom optout‘ to the bill. Padraig has blogged on that issue here. Maman Poulet carries details of a liveblog of the debate, which is hosted here and will kick off at around 6.30 pm. You can join in on twitter, where the hashtag is #cpbill. And, as Suzy says ‘if you just want to watch the debate without the wit, banter and outrage of the viewing masses then you can watch it here.

Enright on Forced and Arranged Marriage

September 28, 2009 Leave a comment

enright_maireadHRinI blogger Máiréad Enright (left) features today as a guest blogger on the excellent IntLawGrrls. In her guest post, Máiréad reflects on the phenomenon of forced and arranged marriage in the UK and the ways in which the UK law tries to counter-act these phenomena. Her guest post is substantively based on her recent article entitled “Choice, Culture and the Politics of Belonging: The Emerging Law of Forced and Arranged Marriage”, which was published in (2009) 72 Modern Law Review 331. Here is a taste of Máiréad’s post on IntLawGrrls, which can be read in full here:

The majority of reported victims of forced marriage in the United Kingdom are young women of South Asian Muslim origin. Because of this fact, the forced marriage project must be read critically against the background of a wider politics of British Muslim belonging, which is linked to the counter-terrorism and social cohesion agendas. This politics operates to exclude some British Muslims from full membership in the ‘we group’ of British citizens. The ground for exclusion is that of ‘excessive’ or ‘difficult’ culture. Those British Muslim who are presented as most bound up in cultural practice, I argue, have become the British citizen’s ‘other’, and are subject to law’s discipline on that basis.

Tobin on Same-Sex Couples and the Law in UK & Ireland

September 26, 2009 1 comment

BrianTobinBrian Tobin, of Trinity College Dublin, has just published “Same-sex Couples and the Law: Recent Developments in the British Isles” in the International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family. Here’s the abstract:

This article chronicles the treatment of same-sex couples in England and the Republic of Ireland in recent years in order to ascertain (i) the impact that incorporation of the European Convention into the domestic law of each State has had on the rights of same-sex couples, (ii) what the introduction of civil partnership legislation might mean for the future of the same-sex marriage debate, (iii) the position of prospective same-sex adoptive parents in each jurisdiction, and (iv) what the law is proposing for those couples who do not formalise their relationship, whether same-sex or opposite-sex. Through a comparative analysis of the many recent developments that have taken place in each jurisdiction, the article concludes (i) that when interpreted correctly by the national courts the European Convention has been of little benefit to same-sex couples since its incorporation, (ii) that civil partnership may sound the death knell for same-sex marriage, (iii) that the Irish stance on adoption by same-sex couples may be illogical in light of a recent decision handed down in Strasbourg, and (iv) that significant progress has been made as regards those opposite-sex and same-sex couples who do not marry or register their partnership, with a redress scheme for such couples at the legislative stage in the Republic of Ireland.