A report by the Law Society of Scotland has called for a review of the laws on cohabitation in Scotland. The report found that the Family Law (Scotland) Act 2006 (FL(S)A 2006), in its current form, is disadvantageous to grieving people after the death of their cohabitee partner. The views of Scottish solicitors are reflected in the report.
The report calculated that 237,000 couples cohabited in Scotland in 2011.
Under FL(S)A 2006, a surviving cohabitant can only make an application to the court following the death of their cohabitant if there is no will. The law states that, where cohabitation ends due to separation, cohabitants have a period of one year to make an application to the court. Furthermore, when a cohabitant dies, the surviving cohabitant has a period of only six months from the date of death to make an application.
The report concluded that 76% of solicitors consider time limits a problematic area of FL(S)A 2006 and proposed:
- linking the time limit for a claim following the death of a cohabitant to the grant of confirmation
- a wider review of the provisions of FL(S)A 2006, ss 25-29A
Source: Rights of Cohabitants