Posted by Simon Bassett, Partner
On 1 September 2016 Withy King LLP merged with Royds LLP. The trading name for the merged firm is Royds Withy King. All content produced prior to this date will remain in the name of the firms pre-merger.
Government to issue ‘next-of-kin’ confirmation letters to same-sex married couples who face legal complications abroad
Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister Hugo Swire has confirmed that the UK Government will issue internationally recognised ‘next-of-kin’ letters to married British same-sex couples on request.
Reforms proposed by the Minister will allow married same-sex couples to request a letter confirming their legal status in the event of facing legal complications abroad.
The news comes after a British citizen was left in a ‘legal limbo’ while honeymooning in Australia with his new husband – who unexpectedly passed away during the holiday.
Mr Marco Bulmer-Rizzi had to fight for the right to keep husband David’s remains – as the South Australian Government did not recognise their marriage, and David Bulmer-Rizzi was deemed ‘unmarried’ under foreign legislation.
In a publicised letter, Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister Hugo Swire apologised for the British Government’s ‘lack of support’ for Mr Bulmer-Rizzi.
“Mr Bulmer-Rizzi suggested that consular staff should be able to issue documentation confirming a spouse’s status of next-of-kin,” he said.
“We have now made available to staff new guidance to enable them to issue an official information note that confirms that the UK authorities, including British consulates, will normally view a spouse or civil partner as next-of-kin where the relationship is a same-sex one as much as for opposite-sex couples,”
“There is no guarantee that a foreign authority will take the same view if it does not recognise same-sex marriage, but we hope it will make clear to those authorities our position and support to a British spouse or civil partner.”
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