WillsThe Civil Partnership (Opposite-sex Couples) Regulations 2019

22 November 2019by Chris Rattigan-Smith

Just before Parliament was dissolved earlier in the month, The Civil Partnership (Opposite-sex Couples) Regulations 2019 was passed. This will allow opposite-sex couples to enter into a civil partnership. The regulation will come into force from the 2nd December and the first ceremonies could take place on 31st December.

This change to the law follows years of debate following the introduction of same sex marriage by the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013. This gave homosexual couples two options to formalise their relationship; either marriage or a civil partnership. Heterosexual couples however only had the option to marry.

The Supreme Court eventually decided that the current position of the law was incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights and amounted to discrimination in the case of Steinfeld and Keidan in July 2018. The couple had “deep-rooted and genuine ideological objections to marriage” but wished to give their children a stable environment in which to grow up.

Following the Steinfeld and Keidan case, we had a number of enquires on the possibility of including a contemplation of civil partnership for heterosexual couples who wanted civil partnership once they came into effect and did not want their wills to be revoked by that civil partnership. At the time, we were reluctant to include such a clause, as it is difficult to contemplate something that currently is not possible and did not have a specific timeframe. Now that the legislation has been passed it will be possible to include contemplation of civil partnership clauses for heterosexual couples.

Chris Rattigan-Smith