Cohabitation contracts : High Commissioner delivers opinion to National Council

Cohabitation contracts : High Commissioner delivers opinion to National Council

26 March 2019

Having been consulted by the President of the National Council on the bill relating to cohabitation contracts, the High Commissioner set out her comments on 7 March 2019. This bill was submitted by the Government in April 2018, and the Upper Assembly has announced that it intends to vote on it during its next spring session.

In her opinion, the High Commissioner urged the legislature to refocus the future “cohabitation contract” firmly on couples, as initially envisaged in the text of the parliamentary initiative which was passed unanimously in October 2016, abandoning the artificial opening up of the contract to cohabiting members of the same family. This is a source of confusion in the Government’s bill and directly contradicts the need to offer a specific status and specific protection for heterosexual or same-sex couples who are living together.

The High Commissioner in parallel invited the legislature to work to improve the effectiveness of rights granted to cohabiting partners with the aim of recognising and protecting their relationship, including by extending to them the benefit of social rights and by ensuring that the protective provisions introduced in relation to housing apply in all sectors of the housing market.

In accordance with his pledge to the High Commissioner at the end of last year, and with a view to ensuring transparency and complying with the right to information for all, President Stéphane Valeri has just made the content of this opinion public, by publishing it on the National Council website (under Texts & Laws - Current Bills) at the same time as the consolidated draft text produced by the Committee on Women’s Rights and the Family as part of the parliamentary review process for this bill.

On reading the Committee’s proposed amendments, the High Commissioner noted with satisfaction that the Committee had fully agreed with her comments, even going further in terms of the rights and benefits that it would like to be able to offer to partners living together under a cohabitation contract, who would, among other things, be recognised as heir and beneficiary of the other partner’s surviving spouse’s pension on their death, under the same conditions as married couples.

The High Commissioner can only hope that the consensus which must be found on this legislation, given how far apart the positions of the Government and the National Council are currently, will, following the forthcoming legislative compromises, enable full and comprehensive recognition of the family life of couples outside of marriage, and the introduction of a genuine status that will offer effective protection to same-sex couples, whom the Principality does not currently allow to marry.

Please click here to access the High Commissioner’s opinion.