Latest Judicial Development
Learn more about latest judicial development and recognition of LGBT+ rights in the Hong Kong courts, as well as landmark overseas judgments.
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Summarised by James Li
F had lived with his partner, T, in a homosexual relationship for 18 years and sought to succeed to the residential tenancy on T's death. Under the Rent Act 1977, the right to succession upon the death of the original tenant was granted to the "surviving spouse" or "a member of the original tenant's family". Following later amendments, cohabitees were also brought under the definition of "surviving spouse" being granted the right to succeed if they could establish that they had lived with the original tenant "as his or her...wife or husband".
F contended that he falls within the definition of “surviving spouse” or “a member of the original tenant’s family” such that he has the right of succession.
Issues before the House of Lords
Decision and Reasoning
Whilst Courts are in general reluctant to recognize homosexual partners as spouses due to it being inextricably linked to the recognition of homosexual marriage, it is great to see that Courts at least recognize homosexual relationships as a kind of companionship worthy of special protection by regarding it as a form of family ties. This recognition is very important in that homosexual partners are more likely to be eligible for various statutory protections in aspects such as succession or inheritance in the future.