A Break Away from the (Hetero)norm?: Lawrence v Gallagher  1 FCR 557;  EWCA Civ 394
- 456 Downloads
In Lawrence v Gallagher, the issue as to what constitutes an equitable division of assets in the event of civil partnership dissolution arose for the first time. It had been hoped that the case would mark a break away from the heavy reliance upon heteronormativity that had been characteristic of the previous ancillary relief case law. However, it is argued here that what we see within the judgment is the Court of Appeal presenting the problem (and, so, the parties) in Lawrence so as to ‘fit’ within the pre-existing framework. Even at this early stage, it seems that legal actors are approaching civil partnerships on the basis of gendered assumptions and expectations. There is a need to raise awareness of this inability to get past ideas about heteronormativity, and to highlight their possible incompatibility with the lives of lesbian and gay couples, before their radical potential is lost.
KeywordsAncillary relief Civil partnership Equality Heteronormativity
Thanks to Rosie Harding and the anonymous reviewer for their comments on earlier drafts of this case note.
- Adam, Conrad. 2008. Financial provision on dissolution. Family Law Journal 73(2): 2–5.Google Scholar
- Arendell, Terry. 1995. Fathers and divorce. London: Sage.Google Scholar
- Auchmuty, Rosemary. 2013. With dissolution comes revelation: Civil partners discover the economic basis of marriage. Feminists@law 3/1. http://journals.kent.ac.uk/index.php/feministsatlaw/article/view/71/193. Accessed 14 September 2013.
- Barker, Nicola. 2012. Not the marrying kind: A feminist critique of same sex marriage. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
- Butler, Judith. 1993. Critically queer. GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 1(1): 17–32.Google Scholar
- Butler, Judith. 1999. Gender trouble: Feminism and the subversion of identity, 2nd ed. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Chan, Winnie. 2013. Cohabitation, civil partnership, marriage and the equal sharing principle. Legal Studies 33(1): 46–65.Google Scholar
- Dunne, Gillian. 1997. Lesbian lifestyles: Women’s work and the politics of sexuality. Basingstoke: Macmillan.Google Scholar
- Fineman, Martha. 2008. The vulnerable subject: Anchoring equality in the human condition. Yale Journal of Law and Feminism 20(1): 1–23.Google Scholar
- Herring, Jonathan. 2012. Breaking bonds. New Law Journal 162: 703–704.Google Scholar
- Lloyd, Moya. 2007. Judith Butler: From norms to politics. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
- Millward, David. 2013. Women delay careers to have children. The Telegraph, 28 July.Google Scholar