After years of campaigning and a case taken to the Supreme Court, mixed-sex couples in England and Wales are now able to enter into a civil partnership. From 2 December 2019, couples can give notice of their intention to enter into a civil partnership and after a minimum waiting period of 28 days, those civil partnerships can be registered. In certain circumstances, the 28 day waiting period is not required and the civil partnerships can be registered sooner.
Civil partnerships were originally created to give legal recognition to same sex couples, and to afford them the same legal and financial rights as mixed-sex couples. In 2004, the Civil Partnership Act defined a civil partnership as ‘a relationship between two people of the same sex’. This was a significant achievement for same sex couples, whose relationship prior to that had no legal recognition.
After a hard fought battle by campaigners, from 29 March 2014 same sex couples gained the right to enter into a marriage.
For a wide range of reasons, campaigners have sought to extend civil partnerships to mixed sex couples, and have now achieved that. On 27 June 2018, the Supreme Court ruled that failing to provide for opposite-sex couples to enter into civil partnerships was incompatible with human rights law. Following this, legislation was passed to extend civil partnerships, and are now available to all couples.
For those who have already entered into civil partnerships abroad, their partnerships have been legally recognised in England and Wales from 1 December 2019.
For more information about civil partnerships please contact: