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Supreme Court Denise Brewster decision boost for equality

8 February 2017

The Supreme Court's decision in favour of the rights of an unmarried woman to her late partner's pension was today welcomed by the Law Society of England and Wales as a victory for equal treatment before the law for unmarried couples.

The court considered whether Denise Brewster had the same rights to payments from her late partner's pension as she would if they had been married. The Supreme Court ruled unanimously that she should receive payments under the pension scheme.

"Equality before the law is a vital part of the free and fair society we all want to live in, and the label people choose to put to their relationship should not change that," said Law Society president Robert Bourns.

"Today's decision by the Supreme Court provides welcome legal clarity for unmarried couples living together, and is a step towards equal treatment across the diverse family circumstances people now create.

"Other areas of unequal treatment, such as the law around what happens to your property if you die without a will, unfortunately still remain.

"A family solicitor can help unmarried couples make arrangements to ensure outdated legal rules do not mean that their partner misses out should something happen to them."

Notes to editors

The Law Society provides information for the public on common legal issues, including for unmarried couples living together.

About the Law Society

The Law Society is the independent professional body that works globally to support and represent solicitors, promoting the highest professional standards, the public interest and the rule of law.

Press office contact: Oliver Searle | | +44 (0)20 7316 5624