With couples cohabiting in ever increasing numbers – pre-marriage or long-term – cohabitation law continues to grow in significance for family and private client lawyers.

As Helen Wood states in the preface to this book, ‘a lawyer will usually only be consulted when a relationship is either in difficulties or at an end. It is at this stage that myths as to entitlement to property and financial provision may have to be exploded’. Too true.

From its first pioneering appearance some 20 years ago, this publication continues to raise its game through each successive edition. This is the go-to book for anybody (lawyer, mediator or accountant) who advises unmarried couples. Now in its sixth edition, the hard copy is bolstered by a CD which contains precedents for almost any situation.

Authors: John Eames, Ashley Murray, District Judge Helen Wood, Mark Harrop, Angharad Palin, David Salter

Jordan Publishing (£95)

As well as ‘traditional’ areas of cohabitation law – property, children and cohabitation agreements – the book also covers: death and succession, tax, domestic violence and personal protection, pension rights, pre-nuptial and separation agreements, and welfare benefits.

A few editions ago, the authors turned a corner in terms of providing contextualised commentary. It is pleasing to see that this has been continued in the new edition. Accounts of the current law are all well and good, but what busy practitioners need to know is how that law applies day to day and how to advise clients.

The comprehensive and clearly written content is easy to navigate. I know from practical experience that the procedural guides and checklists are essential tools.  

Call me a pessimist, but with little chance any time soon of fundamental reform to the laws applying to unmarried couples, this book will continue to be a prominent feature on my desk.

Caitlin Jenkins is a partner, family lawyer, collaborative lawyer and mediator at Mills & Reeve