Harrogate Borough Council -v- Simpson; CA 1985

References: (1985) 17 HLR 205
Coram: Watkins LJ, Ewbank J
The claimant (defending proceedings for possession by the local authority) had lived with the deceased secure tenant in a lesbian relationship for some years and was so living at the date of her death. She sought to defend her occupation saying she qualified as a spouse of the deceased.
Held: The defence failed: ‘I agree that the expression ‘living together as husband and wife’ . . is not apt to include a homosexual relationship. The essential characteristic of living together as husband and wife, in my judgment, is that there should be a man and a woman . . ‘ (Ewbank J) The natural English meaning of the words ‘wife or husband’ was gender-specific, and thus, purely as a matter of language, excluded same-sex relationships.
Statutes: Housing Act 1980 50
This case is cited by:

  • Cited – Michalak -v- London Borough of Wandsworth CA (Bailii, [2002] EWCA Civ 271, [2002] 4 All ER 1136, [2003] 1 WLR 617)
    The appellant had occupied for a long time a room in a house let by the authority. After the death of the tenant, the appellant sought, but was refused, a statutory tenancy. He claimed to be a member of the tenant’s family, and that the list of . .
  • Approved – Fitzpatrick -v- Sterling Housing Association Ltd HL (Times 02-Nov-99, Gazette 10-Nov-99, House of Lords, Bailii, [1999] 3 WLR 1113, [2001] 1 AC 27, [1999] UKHL 42, [1999] 4 All ER 705)
    The claimant had lived with the original tenant in a stable and long standing homosexual relationship at the deceased’s flat. After the tenant’s death he sought a statutory tenancy as a spouse of the deceased. The Act had been extended to include as . .

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