Woodfines Hosts Legal Forum for LGBT Community

For the first time, Woodfines Solicitors hosted a Legal Forum on Thursday 12th November, chaired by Senior Associate Solicitor, Karl Dembicki; covering themes relating to Family Law, Wills and Probate, and Discrimination specifically for the LGBT community. Jackie Jessiman (Fellow Chartered Legal Executive) spoke about the validity of marriage for those embarking upon or subsequent to obtaining a gender recognition certificate, and the comparison between marriage and civil partnership in terms of their formation. Many questions flowed from this with focuses on international jurisdiction for same sex couples in civil partnership or marriage and the meaning of jointly owned property and division upon relationship breakdown.

James Marsh (Senior Associate Solicitor and TEP) represented the firm’s Private Client team and answered questions on topics such as Wills, lasting powers of attorney, estate planning and tax.  In particular, he emphasised the importance of creating and updating wills (particularly where same sex couples have entered into, or are about to enter, civil partnership or marriage).  He also explained the significance of lasting powers of attorney in allowing same sex couples to appoint each other as ‘attorneys’, thereby enabling them to step into the shoes of their civil partner/spouse should illness or mental incapacity befall them.

Senior Associate and Employment lawyer, Nick Sayer, mapped the development of modern day discrimination law, from the 1970s to the Equality Act 2010, with particular emphasis on the protected characteristics of sexual orientation and gender reassignment. He also explained indirect discrimination, discussed some of the practical employment issues which arise when dealing with gender reassignment issues in the workplace, and addressed the recent Court of Appeal decision in Walker v Innospec which provided that there will be no retroactive entitlement to occupational pension benefits prior to 5 December 2005, the date that the Civil Partnership Act 2004 came into force.

The Forum concluded with a discussion on how Woodfines can further assist the LGBT community in Cambridge, with future events and activities expected to be announced. 

For further information or advice, please get in touch with our Cambridge office.