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,  EWCA Civ 271,  4 All ER 1136,  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,  3 WLR 1113,  1 AC 27,  UKHL 42,  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 . .