The number of civil partnerships formed in the UK by same-sex couples fell to 8,728 in 2007 compared with 16,106 in 2006, the first full year in which civil partnerships could be formed. This represents an overall decrease of 46 per cent between 2006 and 2007, according to provisional figures released today by the Office for National Statistics.
The total number of civil partnerships formed in the UK since the Civil Partnership Act came into force in December 2005 is 26,787.
Civil partnerships in England and Wales fell by 47 per cent in 2007 to 7,929. In Scotland and Northern Ireland, civil partnerships fell by 34 per cent to 688 and 4 per cent to 111.
In December 2005, when civil partnerships were first introduced, although there were only 11 days in England and Wales on which to form a civil partnership, 1,857 partnerships were formed.
The high rates for 2005 and the first quarter of 2006 reflect the fact that many same-sex couples in long-standing relationships took advantage of the opportunity to formalise their relationship as soon as the legislation was implemented.
Middle age people are most likely to form a civil partnership with the average age the UK in 2007 being 42.8 years for men and 41.2 years for women.
As in 2006, London was the most popular region within the UK in which to register a partnership in 2007.
The statistics come a week after the announcement of the first high profile gay 'divorce' of BBC comedian Matt Lucas and television producer Kevin McGee. Mr Lucas has instructed Mishcon de Reya whilst Mr McGee is represented by Withers LLP.