Resolution response to Law Commission recommendation on cohabitants' rights

News Release

14 Dec 2011

Responding to the Law Commission's recommendation today (14th December) that certain cohabitants should be entitled to inheritance rights without a will, Resolution's Chair, David Allison, said:

"The death of a partner is a painful enough experience, without becoming embroiled in disagreements about financial settlements during a time which should be spent mourning the loss of a loved one.

"We believe this news will come as a relief to the more than two million couples that currently live together, and we would urge the government to take this recommendation forward.

"There is a popular myth that the "common-law" spouse is afforded legal rights - this simply isn't the case. This doesn't mean cohabitants would have equal rights to married couples, but it does reflect the way that many people are choosing to live their lives, and it is important that the law recognises this."


For further information please contact Matt Bryant, Director of Communications at Resolution, on 07968 796808 / 020 3195 0190;

Notes to editors:

1. The draft Inheritance (Cohabitants) Bill contains provisions that would give certain unmarried partners who have lived together for five years the right to inherit on each other's death under the intestacy rules. Where the couple have a child together, this entitlement would accrue after two years' cohabitation, provided the child was living with the couple when the deceased died. See for more details

2. Resolution is a group of over 6,000 family lawyers in England and Wales. Established in 1982 and formerly known as The Solicitors’ Family Law Association, it promotes a non-confrontational, constructive approach to resolving family disputes. To find out more, visit