Cohabitation: Law, Practice and Precedents by John Eames, Ashley Murray, District Judge Helen Wood, Mark Harrop, Angharad Palin and David Salter, Family Law, 2015, 785pp
It is difficult for a busy family law practitioner to access cohabitation law quickly as there is no specific family law based remedy. This monster of a tome attempts to put all those resources together in one place. Does it work?
The introduction is succinct but precedes the House of Lords' debate of Lord Marks' bill. Reference to comparative law would have been instructive to demonstrate how far out of kilter English law is now positioned when compared to many other countries. A later section on pre-nuptial agreements does include comparative law, but a broader international approach would have been helpful given the increasingly international nature of families in England and Wales.
The section on Property demonstrates a considerable depth of explanation as to the development of the concept of the common law constructive trust. There is a particularly useful table contrasting joint and sole name cases, indicative of the many useful summaries provided in other sections of this book.
The declaration of trust and cohabitation agreement precedents laudably deal with the hugely varied scenarios that have been suggested by case law precedent. It is not going too far to say that the book probably deals with every situation that one could think of.
After a brief overview of tax, there follows a useful discussion of personal protection remedies, including easy reference procedural guides in an area of law that can be surprisingly tricky to get right in practice. There is then a helpful sortie into the huge world of children law, most notably a quick glance reference to Schedule 1 Children Act remedies, with the relevant case law outlined, and accompanying precedents.
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