Yesterday evening Partner Graeme Fraser introduced the National Cohabitation Debate in his capacity as Chair of Resolution’s Cohabitation Committee, held at The Law Society’s Hall.
The debate, focusing on Resolution’s proposal that the law in England and Wales should extend legal rights to those who choose not to marry, was an outstanding success. Following the debate the audience participated in an anonymous poll, which resulted in the majority being in favour of Resolution’s proposal. Fifty-nine per cent of those in attendance agreed with the proposal, 36% disagreed, and 5% were undecided.
The debate was chaired by Sir Mark Potter, past President of the Family Division and Head of Family Justice for England and Wales. Supporting the motion was Lord Marks of Henley-on-Thames, Liberal Democrat, Lords Principal Spokesperson for Justice – seconded by Joanna Miles, Fellow and Director of Studies (Trinity College), University Senior Lecturer in Law; University of Cambridge and Academic door tenant at 1 Hare Court Chambers. Opposing the motion was Baroness Deech, Crossbench Peer, Past Chair of Bar Standards Board – seconded by Harry Benson, Research Director, Marriage Foundation.
The speakers all put forward extremely important points and convincing arguments, almost echoing the House of Lords debate on this motion which took place in 2014. Resolution are extremely pleased with the result of the debate and cohabitation reform will once again be on the agenda of Resolution’s Lobby Day, together with no fault divorce, on 30 November 2016.
The arguments raised last night will undoubtedly inform Resolution in terms of policy formulation over the coming years. We are delighted that the event was such a success, as over the years cohabitation casework has transformed from being a minor part of our work, to an essential part of the family lawyer’s practice.
For more information on cohabitation and proposed reform, please find a link to Resolution’s pages on the subject here.