Sexual orientation and family law

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On 29th March 2000 the Scottish Parliament passed its fifth piece of legislation, the Adults with Incapacities (Scotland) Act 2000. One small provision tucked away in this important legislation amends the definition of "nearest relative" in the Mental Health (Scotland) Act 1984, in order to include within that phrase members of conjugal same-sex couples1. The relative obscurity of this provision must not hide its import, for this is the first time that legislation anywhere in the United Kingdom has expressly and intentionally given recognition, for civil law purposes, to the existence of same-sex family relationships.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFamily Dynamics
Subtitle of host publicationContemporary Issues in Family Law
EditorsJane Scoular
Place of PublicationEdinburgh, Scotland
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • sexual orientation
  • family law
  • scots law


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