Publication - Consultation paper

Future of civil partnership: consultation

Published: 28 Sep 2018

This consultation seeks views on the options for the future of civil partnership in Scotland.

Future of civil partnership: consultation


1. The Supreme Court's decision is at

2. Information on the previous consultation is at

3. The Registrar General can, in exceptional circumstances, waive the 28 day notice period. The 28 day notice period can also be extended if the Home Office has grounds to suspect the proposed civil partnership may be a sham to avoid immigration controls.


5. Over 1,000 civil partnerships were registered in Scotland in 2006. This was due to build-up of demand prior to the 2004 Act coming into force in December 2005. Prior to that, no form of same sex relationship could be registered in Scotland.

6. 2017 figures on marriage and civil partnership are at Quarterly figures are at

7. NRS analysis, June 2018. This figure has not been adjusted to take into account civil partnerships that could not have been changed to marriage due to dissolution, separation or death of one or both parties.

8. (point 5).

9. Same sex marriages registered overseas, and elsewhere in the UK, are recognised as marriages in Scotland.

10. Unless both parties to the civil partnership obtain gender recognition on the same day.

11. This type of order can be used where the Scottish Ministers deem it necessary due to a provision in an Act of Parliament or Act of the Scottish Parliament not being compatible with ECHR rights.

12. Generally, Legislative Consent Motions ( LCMs) are used to provide Scottish Parliament consent to Bills under consideration in the UK Parliament which contain what are known as "relevant provisions". These provisions could be those which change the law on a devolved matter, such as civil status.

13. Information on fees to register a civil partnership is at

14. The analysis of the 2015 consultation is at Page 22 outlines reasons for wishing to enter an opposite sex civil partnership.

15. These figures may include civil partnerships that have been transferred to marriage, and vice versa.




19. It could be argued that the introduction of opposite sex civil partnership might lead to more same sex civil partnerships being registered in Scotland as entering into a civil partnership would no longer result in couples effectively outing themselves.

20. Unless both parties to the civil partnership obtain legal gender recognition on the same day.

21. The consultation on family law is at

22. The Scottish Government has recently consulted on proposed changes to the system for obtaining legal gender recognition: Question 9 asked whether legal gender recognition should stop being a ground for divorce or dissolution.

23. MacLennan v MacLennan 1958 SC 105

24. Paragraph 19 of Schedule 5 to SI 2014/3229 refers:

25. If a Bill at Westminster on civil partnership extended to Scotland, that could cover reserved matters and there would not be a section 104 Order.

26. In this Annex, "marriage(s)" refers to same sex and opposite sex marriage unless otherwise stated.

27. The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act 2014 amended the Civil Partnership Act 2004 to introduce the religious or belief registration of civil partnership.

28. Detailed information on how to get married is available on the NRS website

29. Detailed information is available on the NRS website:

30. The entitlement to make certain claims on a decreased spouse's or civil partner's estate. See for additional information.

31. The ability, provided certain criteria are met, to transfer £1,190 of one's own Personal Allowance to a spouse or civil partner, in order to reduce tax paid where the spouse or civil partner earns more. See for further details.

32. Figures provided by NRS on 28 June 2018. This includes civil partnerships from elsewhere.

33. From 16 December 2014 only.


35. The figures for same sex marriages include changes from civil partnerships to marriages.

36. This high figure is attributable to build-up of demand prior to introduction.

37. From 16 December 2014.

38. Based on the NRS estimate of the Scottish population in June 2017 as 5,424,800. See

39. Section 4(4) of the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act 2014 removed references in legislation to people living together as if they were in a civil partnership. This reflects that references to living together as if married now covers both opposite sex and same sex couples.

40. A family is defined as a group of people who are either a married, same-sex civil partnership, or cohabiting couple, with or without child(ren); a lone parent with child(ren); a married, same-sex civil partnership, or cohabiting couple with grandchild(ren) but with no children present from the intervening generation, or a single grandparent with grandchild(ren) but no children present from the intervening generation.


42. A household is: one person living alone; or a group of people (not necessarily related) living at the same address who share cooking facilities, and share a living room or sitting room or dining area.






48. Not including Greenland and the Faroe Islands.

49. Please note that in some marriages, the sex is of one party is not stated because he or she is not in the Danish population register. Where this is the case, the marriages are defined as opposite sex marriages. This means that same sex marriages may be underestimated and opposite sex marriages overestimated.



52. only)


54. For same sex marriages, the figures are in relation to which notice was given, as per Irish law, after 16 November 2015. For civil partnerships, the figures are those where notice was given up to that date.

55. These couples had given notice prior to 16 November 2015 and thus could competently enter into a civil partnership after this date.


57. (French only)

58. Provisional figures




62. Figures for civil unions are not available before 2007.

63. These figures are based on the Scottish Legal Aid Board's experiences with divorce and dissolution cases.


65. This is because in some cases not all service will be taken into account.


67. Details of these interviews can be found at

68. The current fees for entering a civil partnership are at




72. More details can be found on the Scottish Public Pensions Agency website:

73. Around 1 in 3 marriages end in divorce in Scotland: Statistics on divorce are at

74. The UK Government's review of survivor benefits in occupational pension schemes is at


76. See table 9 at

77. See table 10 at

78. Guidance on the simplified procedures for divorce can be found on the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service website:


80. Refer to Definitions of Protected Characteristics document for information on the characteristics

81. In respect of this protected characteristic, a body subject to the Public Sector Equality Duty (which includes the Scottish Government) only needs to comply with the first need of the duty (to eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other conduct that is prohibited by or under the Equality Act 2010) and only in relation to work. This is because the parts of the Act covering services and public functions, premises, education etc. do not apply to that protected characteristic. Equality impact assessment within the Scottish Government does not require assessment against the protected characteristic of Marriage and Civil Partnership unless the policy or practice relates to work, for example HR policies and practices.