A Nordic perspective on living together

Rasmus Engelsted Jonasen (ed.)
ISBN: 978-94-6240-569-1 (Papetback)
ISBN: 978-94-6240-589-9 (E-book)


This quadruple report provides comprehensive insight into the legal situation of unmarried cohabitees in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. Cohabitees are unmarried couples living together similarly to spouses, but mostly without the same legal security and certainty, as their situation is only in two of four countries regulated in statutory law. Contrary to the intense cooperation
that took place between Denmark, Norway and Sweden in the early 1910s preparing new marriage laws, there has been no cooperation at all regarding the legal status of unmarried cohabitees. That makes it an interesting area for comparative research especially.

The report begins with general depictions of the legal structure in each country and carries readers through to end with suggestions for improvement of the law. It illustrates how, in the status quo of the law, cohabitees meet various statutory limits when arranging their family life; most markedly in respect of property, contract and inheritance law. Touching upon the interplay between the status quo of the law and the personal autonomy of persons to organize
their own family life, authors highlight the most problematic issues of the law applicable to unmarried cohabitants in each country. They provide qualified suggestions to meet these issues as they conclusively call for further statutory legislation to provide all the necessary tools to protect weaker cohabitees and exposed children.
The Nordic Legal Research Group is a project on initiative of four Nordic groups of The European Law Students’ Association (ELSA) in which 11 students gathered throughout 2019 to author this collective report. While written purely by students, the report is a product of close cooperation with three university professors as well as three doctoral candidates specialized within Nordic family law. In particular, the research framework has been developed
by esteemed Family law Professor Ingrid Lund-Andersen while a further group of academics have supervised the process. She pronounces it “an impressive research work prepared by students in their spare time [which] can be useful for legal practitioners, academics at universities as well as for politicians and lawmakers.”.