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48 Hong Kong L.J. 837 (2018)
Property Rights of Cohabitants: A Comparison of Four Jurisdictions

handle is hein.journals/honkon48 and id is 841 raw text is: 

                 PROPERTY RIGHTS OF

                  FOUR JURISDICTIONS


                        Thomas Leung Yu Hang*

This article compares the approaches taken by four common law jurisdictions,
namely, England and Wales, Canada, Singapore and Hong Kong, in dealing
with financial and property rights of unmarried heterosexual cohabitants. The
law in each jurisdiction is evaluated according to its logic and consistency
(principle) and its ability to fairly balance the need for autonomy and protection
of the vulnerable (pragmatism). Common themes identified from the comparison
are subsequently analysed. This article then proposes a legal framework which
can be developed by the Hong Kong courts to settle familial property disputes,
particularly between cohabitants, which seeks to satisfy both the requirements
of principle and pragmatism.

1. Introduction
Of all areas of law, it is property, particularly as it relates to housing and
home, which affects people most consistently and directly.1

(a) Cohabitation and Home Ownership:
    a Social Phenomenon
Since the 1970s, many Western countries have experienced a drastic
increase in their cohabitation rates, where unmarried couples live
together in an intimate relationship.' Cohabitation has also become more
prevalent in developed countries in Asia since the last decade, albeit the
increase is less significant. The reasons for and types of cohabitation are

   LLB (HKU); PCLL (HKU). The author is grateful to Alice Lee, Alex Schwartz and the HKLJ
   peer reviewer for their extensive and helpful comments.
   Loma Fox O'Mahony, Property Outsiders and the Hidden Politics of Doctrinalism (2014) 67
   Current Legal Problems 409.
2 Alan Booth and Ann C Crouter, Just Living Together: Implications of Cohabitation on Families,
   Children and Social Policy (Abingdon: Routledge, 2002) p 3.

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