Harrogate Borough Council v Simpson: CA 1985

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.


Watkins LJ, Ewbank J


(1985) 17 HLR 205


Housing Act 1980 50


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedMichalak v London Borough of Wandsworth CA 6-Mar-2002
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 . .
ApprovedFitzpatrick v Sterling Housing Association Ltd HL 28-Oct-1999
Same Sex Paartner to Inherit as Family Member
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 . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 04 May 2022; Ref: scu.179866