Cohabitation does not presently advance access to the legal rights enjoyed by married couples or same-sex couples who have entered into a civil partnership.
It would seem to be an anomaly that opposite sex couples, who may ideologically object to the institution of marriage, cannot formalise their relationship in law by entering into a civil partnership.
In a recent case taken before the Supreme Court, the panel of judges determined that opposite sex couples should be able to enter into a civil partnership arrangement, and the denial of this choice was a denial of their basic human rights.
It remains to be seen if legislators will now extend the scope of civil partnerships to opposite sex couples.
If common sense prevails, the need for death bed marriages between couples to secure Inheritance Tax exemptions (only available to married couples or those in a civil partnership) will become a thing of the past. The most recent high profile case being the last minute marriage of Ken Dodd and his life partner.
Clearly, the ball is with Parliament now and it will be interesting to see when the law is changed, otherwise the UK will remain, in this respect, in breach of the EU human rights legislation.
This case is reported in our newsfeed for Informanagement subscribers this week.