Civil Partnership Act 2004 Explanatory Notes

Chapter 6 – Miscellaneous
Section 204: False statements etc. with reference to civil partnerships

395.This section amends Article 8 of the Perjury (Northern Ireland) Order 1979 to make it an offence for a person to make false statements or representations with reference to marriage or civil partnership formation.

396.Subsection (2) inserts a new paragraph (1A) into Article 8 making it an offence to knowingly make certain false statements or representations for the purpose of procuring the formation of a civil partnership or a record being made in any register relating to civil partnerships, or as a means of forbidding the issue of a civil partnership document or a document required by an Order in Council. For example, a person who signs a declaration that he is free to enter into a civil partnership, knowing that the declaration is false, commits an offence.

Section 205: Housing and tenancies

397.This section introduces Schedule 18 (Housing and tenancies: Northern Ireland), which makes amendments to a range of enactments relating to housing and tenancies.

Section 206: Family homes and domestic violence

398.This section introduces Schedule 19 (Family homes and domestic violence), which amends the Family Homes and Domestic Violence (Northern Ireland) Order 1998 and related enactments so that they apply in relation to civil partnerships as they apply in relation to marriages. The amendments will mean that civil partners have the same rights to occupy the matrimonial home. In addition civil partners will be able to apply for non-molestation orders and occupation orders. Occupation orders are orders regulating occupation of the home (which may include excluding the respondent from the home and vicinity of the home and prohibiting, terminating or restricting the exercise of the respondent’s occupation rights, as appropriate).

Section 207: Fatal accidents claims

399.This section extends the provisions of the Fatal Accidents (Northern Ireland) Order 1977 to include civil partners, so that where a person’s death is caused by the wrongful act, neglect or default of another person, a civil partner of the deceased will be able to claim compensation in the same way as a spouse.

400.Subsections (2), (3) and (4) widen the definition of “dependant” for the purposes of a right of action under the Order to include civil partners and former civil partners of the deceased; any person who was living with the deceased as if they were a civil partner; and any person (not being a child of the deceased) who was treated by the deceased as a child of the family, in relation to any civil partnership to which the deceased was at any time a party.

401.Subsection (5) defines “former civil partner” as a person whose civil partnership with the deceased has been annulled or dissolved.

402.Subsection (6) replaces the reference to a relationship by “affinity” in Article 2(3)(b) of the Order with a reference to a relationship “by marriage or civil partnership”, for the purposes of clarity.

403.Subsection (7)(a) enables a civil partner of the deceased to claim bereavement damages. Subsection (7)(b) prevents a parent of a deceased minor from making a claim for bereavement damages where the minor had entered into a civil partnership.

404.Subsection (8) provides that upon assessing damages payable to a dependant in respect of the death of a person with whom the dependant was living as a civil partner, the court shall take account of the fact that the dependant had no enforceable right to financial support by the deceased as a result of their living together.

Section 208: Evidence

405.Subsection (1) of this section contains a provision that enactments or rules of law applying to the giving of evidence by a spouse will apply also to the giving of evidence by a civil partner.

406.However, subsection (2) sets out that the general provision in subsection (1) is subject to any specific amendment made by or under the Civil Partnership Act which relates to the giving of evidence by a civil partner. This takes account of the fact that in some instances it is more appropriate to amend specific provisions in other enactments or rules.

407.Subsection (5) provides that any rule of law which makes evidence of family tradition admissible to prove or disprove the existence of a marriage is to apply in a similar way in order to prove or disprove the existence of a civil partnership.

Section 209: Restrictions on publicity of reports of proceedings

408.This section extends section 1 of the Matrimonial Causes (Reports) Act (Northern Ireland) 1966 to civil partners. Section 1 of the 1966 Act makes it an offence to publish certain details in connection with judicial proceedings for dissolution or nullity of marriage, judicial separation and any proceedings by one spouse against the other for financial provision or proceedings concerning an order made in connection with any cause or matter. This clause makes it an offence to disclose similar details in relation to civil partners involved in comparable judicial proceedings under the Civil Partnership Act.

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