Dr Andy Hayward, 'Cohabitation: Creating a De Facto Relationship Regime for England and Wales'

Event date
8 March 2024
Event time
11:30 - 13:00
Oxford week
HT 8
Cohen Quadrangle, Exeter College (External Site), Walton Street, Jericho

Notes & Changes

Dr Andy Hayward is an Associate Professor in Family Law at Durham Law School. His research focuses on domestic and comparative family law, especially the legal regulation of adult interpersonal relationships. Andy was appointed Special Advisor to the UK Parliament’s Women and Equalities Committee for their Rights of Cohabiting Partners Inquiry in 2021 and, with Professor Jens Scherpe, is currently finalising a major study of cohabitation law and policy in 35 countries. 


Cohabitation reform has received increased attention following the recent Women and Equalities Committee Inquiry and support expressed last year by the Shadow Attorney General. But while many academics and campaigners would accept the case for reforming the law has been won, there remains a dispute over the precise reform model to be adopted. Drawing upon comparative family law insights and noting the limitations of separate or difference-based models used in Scotland and Ireland, this paper proposes the more radical assimilation-based approach. While arguably a more controversial model, its current use in Australia and New Zealand will be critiqued with a view to revealing how it may offer a more principled and pragmatic solution to reform in England and Wales. 

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