Stop Press! Heterosexual couples, not just homosexual couples, are expected to be able to enter a civil partnership instead of marriage as a result of yesterday’s landmark ruling by the Supreme Court in London.

The UK’s highest Court, which unanimously ruled in favour of Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan, concluded the couple’s well-publicised and long-running legal bid for this right. The Court ruled that current UK law was “incompatible” with human rights laws on discrimination and the right to a private and family life, and the decision is thought likely to put pressure on the Government to change legislation allowing everyone the opportunity to apply for a civil partnership.

Hailed by many as a victory for freedom, equality and choice, the decision is set to give couples another option to getting married or cohabiting, when planning their life together. Civil partnership offers legal and financial protection for both parties in the event of the relationship ending, and does not have the religious or any other connotations of marriage. In a civil partnership, a couple is entitled to the same legal treatment in terms of inheritance, tax, pensions and next-of-kin arrangements as marriage. As with any relationship planning, Pre- or Post-Nuptial Agreements may be of importance and couples are routinely advised to consider whether such an agreement will benefit them, just as a Cohabitation Agreement or Declaration of Trust may do in the case of cohabiting couples.

If you would like further information and advice on any of these issues, please contact Lucinda Holliday on or call 01494 478612.

“It was never fair that same-sex couples had two options, civil partnerships and civil marriages, whereas opposite-sex partners had only one option, marriage”