Bar tackles property division

THE PROPERTY rights problems faced by unmarried cohabitants on the break-up of relationships have been highlighted by the Chancery Bar Association.

At a workshop in Lincoln's Inn, members of the association attacked the current law relating to homesharing.

The session was organised by the group as its contribution to a review of the law being conducted by the Law Commission.

Around 50 barristers and judges were at the session which was attended by Charles Harpum, the law commissioner conducting the review.

Reziya Harrison, who helped organise the workshop, said it was a new departure for the association and reflected its desire to apply its expertise for the public good.

"The association has been trying to be more proactive in developing the law in the area that we practice," she said.

"I think this a useful role that can be played by the specialist Bar."

The property law specialist of 11 Old Square, added: "I agree that the present law is unsatisfactory, but I would prefer to encourage the judiciary to be innovative and develop the law without legislation."

Josephine Hayes, another member of the association, added: "Nobody suggested that the present law in this area is satisfactory.

"Elsewhere in the Commonwealth, debate on reform in this area is well ahead of ours."

The Law Commission announced its review of the property rights of non-marital cohabitants on the break-up of their relationship in May this year when Harpum described the present law as "unfair, uncertain and illogical".

A consultation paper on reform of the law is due in the summer of next year.

Harpum welcomed the workshop and said there appeared to be much common ground between the commission and the association.