iPlayer Radio What's New?
Nick Cave; Jonathan Coe; The Riot Club
Image for The Law and Cohabitation

Listen now 43 mins

Listen in pop-out player

The Law and Cohabitation

43 minutes
First broadcast:
Wednesday 22 May 2013

In the first of a new series, Clive Anderson's guests struggle to reconcile their differences regarding reform of the way the law treats unmarried cohabiting couples when their relationships break up.

There are over four million co-habiting couples in England and Wales. Research suggests that a great number of them think the law, broadly speaking, affords them the same protection as married couples. It turns out they could not be more wrong.

The programme hears that the widely held belief that cohabiting couples acquire common law marriage status is a complete myth.

Barrister and Lib Dem peer Lord Anthony Lester's argues for root and branch reform to provide legal protection for cohabiting couples. But he is strongly opposed by his cross-bench colleague in the House of Lords, Baroness Ruth Deech, who staunchly defends the special legal status granted those who marry.

While there is little agreement among Clive's guests about what changes, if any, should be made to the law, they all agree that much more needs to be done to make cohabitating couples more aware about their lack of legal rights.

Producer: Brian King
An Above the Title production for BBC Radio 4.


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Added. Check out your playlist Dismiss