• November 29, 2023
 Book Review: Cohabitation – Division of Property on Relationship Breakdown by Stephen Parker

Book Review: Cohabitation – Division of Property on Relationship Breakdown by Stephen Parker

Firstly, a disclaimer. I really rather like TOLATA/Schedule 1 etc. cases. Looking at the bookshelf in my office, most of the books I have flexed the plastic on have been in this area too. Also, I do like Marmite. Make of that what you will.

Cohabitee finance is an area that solicitors tend to shy away from. I think this is because it uses “foreign” court rules (the CPR) and county court practitioners like to scare us with stories of being struck out because they were one nanosecond late with doing something. Plus, also, let’s be frank, the law is a bit of a mess in this area.

Second disclaimer – I am a fan of lists. Job lists, thought lists, process lists.

So, to the book. I really enjoyed reading this book. No, not just because it is a TOLATA book to add to the stable but because of the style and content. It is perfect for a busy practitioner to use to inform, dip in and out of and to hold as a comfort blanket. Frankly, everything you need is in there – aside from some drafting templates.

Now, the style. Eminently digestible in an area of law that has more intellectual twists than something very twisty. Nicely formed summaries (in lists – big tick) to lead the confused to clarity of thought. It makes it such a good book to actually read from cover to cover (which I did) as well as dip in and out. It just was…. sensible. There are some good practice and practical points in there too – the tricky stuff to watch out for. Having read it all, I predict this is one that I will continually be dipping in and out of for reminders and drawing back to the straight and narrow from the confusion that can be TOLATA cases.

The content and areas covered are good too. I liked the building up of knowledge from the basics (again, with lists and simple summaries), then a romp through STACK V DOWDEN and JONES V KERNOTT – both of which were analysed in the clearest way I have seen; equitable accounting; TOLATA itself (of course); a big chunk on practice and procedure (usually the worrisome bit); transfer of tenancies; Schedule 1 Children Act 1989, personal property; effect of an engagement – often overlooked and really pleasing to see a bit on this; and lastly cohabitation/living together agreements.

The only thing missing were some templates – but I suspect that was intentional because each case can be so individual.

As you can tell, my review for this book is a resounding “big thumbs up”. It is a really worthy addition for those who undertake this area of work, whether you like Marmite or not.

Reviewer: Karen Dovaston, Dovaston Law

Annie Simmons

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