News & Legal Updates
Sign up to news & legal updates
Family lawyers throughout Scotland have been waiting for the Supreme Court judgement in Gow -v- Grant. It was issued yesterday and makes interesting reading.
The Supreme Court has rejected the narrow approach to cohabitation cases taken by the Inner House in their appeal decision in the same case.
The rationale behind the Family Law (Scotland) Act 2006 is to correct any imbalances created during the relationship and to achieve fairness. The terms of the legislation mean that the court has discretion to decide whether there should be any compensation paid and if the court awards compensation it is for the sheriff to assess how much that should be. In the judgement the Supreme Court points out that most couples do not keep detailed accounts of everything being spent and in a separation case the cost of making a detailed analysis of contributions made by each partner will be disproportionately high. Instead the court suggests looking at where the couple are economically at the start of the relationship and where they have ended up. It is for the sheriff to weigh up all of the relevant factors and reach a decision on what if anything should be awarded.
The decision provides clarity about how to approach claims in these cases but the emphasis on the need for the court to exercise discretion means that for any client going into court with a claim like this there is a huge degree of uncertainty. Doing fairness means different things to different people. All sorts of factors can weigh in a judge's thinking in trying to arrive at a fair result. The Supreme Court acknowledges that statistically most unmarried couples who live together have not consciously opted out of marriage. At the same time, they may not realise the possible financial consequences of the relationship ending.
It is possible to enter an agreement before moving in together or while living together to make provision for claims in terms of the 2006 Act should the relationship end. Taking such a step should be seen as sound financial planning and could save thousands of pounds in legal fees at a later date.
As the highest civil court in Scotland the decisions of the Supreme Court are binding on all lower courts in Scotland.
Partner - Family Law
The opinions expressed in this site are of the author(s) only and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Blackadders LLP.
Blackadders takes all reasonable steps to ensure that the content of this site is accurate and up to date. The site is not, however, intended as a substitute for seeking legal or other professional advice but rather as an informative guide to the services provided by Blackadders and topical legal developments. Site visitors should always seek advice tailored to their specific situation. Consequently, Blackadders accepts no responsibility for any loss or damage suffered by anyone acting or failing to act on the basis of information contained on this site. Downloading of material contained on this site is at the user’s own risk and all necessary virus checks must first be carried out by the user. Blackadders is not responsible for the material found on any web sites linked to this one and links to this site may only be made with Blackadders prior consent.
Blackadders owns the copyright in this blog and all material contained on it. The material on this site may be downloaded for personal use only and must not be altered. Otherwise, Blackadders’ written consent is required before any material on this site is reproduced, copied or transmitted in any way.
Information passed to us via this site is kept confidential and will not be disclosed to third parties except if authorised by you or required by law.
© Blackadders LLP 2021
Members of the Law Society of Scotland.
Blackadders Solicitors is a trading name of Blackadders LLP, a limited liability partnership, registered in Scotland No SO301600 whose registered office is 30 & 34 Reform Street, Dundee, DD1 1RJ. Reference to a ‘partner’ is to a member of Blackadders LLP.Back to News & Legal Updates