Sophie Tarassenko, Senior lecturer in law, University of Hertfordshire and Lucy Yeatman, lecturer in law, University of Greenwich. Civil partners will be recognised as each other's next of kin" under the Civil Partnership Act 2004 when the Act comes into force in December 2005. The article sets out the role of "next of kin" during a person's lifetime and after his death and the effect the Civil Partnership Act will have on this role. Misconceptions about the meaning of "next of kin" endure, rather like the myth of the common-law wife. Recent changes in the law, such as the Civil Partnership Act 2004, the Human Tissue Act 2004 and the Mental Capacity Act 2005 have, however, led to fresh discussion in this area, and the authors believe this presents an opportunity to clear up misunderstandings which have caused many people a great deal of distress. See November  Fam Law 887 for the full article.
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