Feminist Legal Studies

, Volume 27, Issue 3, pp 263–285 | Cite as

The Role of Pateman’s Sexual Contract in Beneficial Interests in Property

  • Kate GallowayEmail author


While the common law may result in justice between heterosexual intimate partners in particular claims for a beneficial interest in the family home, it does so on its own terms—terms drawn up according to contractarian principles reflecting male sex-right, that subsist even as the world and the institution of marriage (and marriage-like relationships) have changed. This paper uses examples from the case law across four common law jurisdictions to expose the terms on which the contractarian nature of intimate partner trusts permits claims for a distribution of intimate partners’ property, and how it excludes. In particular, it identifies the pervasiveness of the sexual contract in subsuming women’s expression of individualism to those of her intimate partner, and the implications of this for the derivation of a property interest in the family home.


Sexual contract Property Common intention trusts Married women’s property Family law 



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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of LawGriffith UniversityBrisbaneAustralia

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