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A Durham-Cambridge Family Law Conference

10 and 11 July 2015

In many jurisdictions registered partnerships were introduced either as a functional equivalent to marriage for same-sex couples or as an alternative to marriage open to all couples. As marriage is opened up to same-sex couples in an increasing number of jurisdictions, this raises the question of what the future of registered partnership should be. Is there a function or indeed a need for another form of formalised adult relationship besides marriage?

This research project and conference will look at the different approaches taken in several jurisdictions which range from abolishing registered partnership to retaining it as an alternative formalised relationship to marriage. Leading family law experts from 14 European and non-European countries will present the law of their jurisdiction and explain the history and function of registered partnership in their own family law system. This will then allow for the drawing of conclusions about the advantages and disadvantages of the different approaches. It will also provide the basis for an informed discussion on the way forward for jurisdictions that are about to review their registered partnership regimes and the recognition of adult relationships in general.

Given the location of the conference, the current situation in England & Wales and Scotland will be given particular consideration. These countries are the only jurisdictions in the world where same-sex couples are privileged above opposite-sex couples seeing as civil partnership is currently only available to the former and marriage available to all couples.

Further information:

The papers presented at this conference and the comparative findings will be made available to the public in the form of an edited collection, published by Intersentia.


University of Cambridge Durham University


This research project and conference are generously supported by:


International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers Queen Elizabeth Building Intersentia