Judge speaks out in favour of equality between marriage and cohabitation
One of England’s most high profile family law judges has spoken out in favour of a change to the legal rights and obligations that accompany marriage.
Sir Nicholas Mostyn, a High Court judge and former QC, suggested in a speech given to a family law conference that in the current day there was no difference between the relationships of married and cohabiting couples and spoke out against the special financial protection afforded to those ending a married relationships. Those who split after co-habitation are given no financial protection by the law.
Mostyn said “It is not the role of the state, in my humble opinion, to go round telling people how they should form their relationships” and suggested that government support for marriage was a form of “social engineering”.
“I do not support two classes of adjudication depending on whether there happens to be a marriage. I support the extension of the existing system of judicial equitable distribution to the unmarried, warts and all.”
The speech was in part a response to Sir Paul Coleridge, Sir Nicholas’ former colleague in the High Court, who has recent spoken out at length in defence of marriage as the ‘ideal’ format for family relationships. Coleridge stepped down earlier in 2014 amid a row about his judicial independence in light of his pro-marriage think tank, the Marriage Foundation, becoming increasingly prominent.
You can read the full text of the speech here.