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A round-up of family-related Private Members’ Bills in progress

Private Members' Bills are Public Bills introduced by MPs and Lords who are not government ministers. A minority of Private Members' Bills become law but, by creating publicity around an issue, they may affect legislation indirectly.

The following Bills, relevant to family law issues, have been introduced in the current parliamentary session.

Arbitration and Mediation Services (Equality) Bill
This Bill was introduced in the House of Lords on 25 May by Baroness Coussins. It seeks to make further provision about arbitration and mediation services and the application of equality legislation to such services. In particular, it would insert a section 9A into the Family Law Act 1996 so that a court would be empowered to issue a declaration setting aside any order based on a mediation settlement agreement or other negotiated agreement if it considered on evidence that one party's consent was not genuine. A Bill in similar (ie also amending the Family Law Act 1996), but not identical, terms was originally proposed by Baroness Cox in 2012. For the Bill, as introduced, click here . It is due to have its Second Reading on a date to be announced. For progress of the Bill, click here 

Child Contact Centres (Accreditation) Bill
This Bill was introduced in the House of Lords on 6 June by Baroness McIntosh. It seeks to make provision for the accreditation of child contact centres. For the Bill, as introduced, click here . It is due to have its Second Reading on a date to be announced. For progress of the Bill, click here

Cohabitation Rights Bill
This substantial Bill, running to 30 sections, was introduced in the House of Lords on 13 June by Lord Marks. It seeks to provide certain protections for persons who live together as a couple or have lived together as a couple; and to make provision about the property of deceased persons who are survived by a cohabitant. In the last session it failed due to lack of time. Resolution proposes a new cohabitation law which encompasses Lord Marks' proposals but goes further: for details, click here. For the Bill, as introduced, click here . It is due to have its Second Reading on a date to be announced. For progress of the Bill, click here 

Divorce (Financial Provision) Bill
This Bill was introduced in the House of Lords on 26 May by Baroness Deech. It seeks to amend the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 (in particular replacing section 25(2)); and make provision in connection with financial settlements following divorce. In the last session it failed due to lack of time. For Baroness Deech's explanation of the need for the Bill, click here For the Bill, as introduced, click here . It is due to have its Second Reading on a date to be announced. For progress of the Bill, click here 

Families with Children and Young People in Debt (Respite) Bill
This Bill was introduced in the House of Commons on 29 June by Kelly Tolhurst. It seeks to place a duty on lenders and creditors to provide periods of financial respite for families with children and young people in debt in certain circumstances; to place a duty on public authorities to provide access to related advice, guidance and support in those circumstances. The Bill is being prepared for publication. For Ms Tolhurst's comments on the Bill, click here . It is due to have its Second Reading on 28 October 2016. For progress of the Bill, click here 

Marriage and Civil Partnership (Minimum Age) Bill

This Bill was introduced in the House of Lords on 25 May by Baroness Tonge. It seeks to raise the minimum age of consent to marriage or civil partnership to eighteen; create an offence of causing a person under the age of eighteen to enter into a marriage or civil partnership.  For the Bill, as introduced, click here . It is due to have its Second Reading on a date to be announced. For progress of the Bill, click here 

Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence (Ratification of Convention) Bill
This Bill was introduced in the House of Commons on 29 June by Dr Eilidh Whiteford. It seeks to require the United Kingdom to ratify the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (the Istanbul Convention). The Bill is being prepared for publication. For the Convention itself, click here . It is due to have its Second Reading on 16 December 2016. For progress of the Bill, click here 

Registration of Marriage Bill
This Bill was introduced in the House of Commons on 29 June by Edward Argar. It seeks to make provision about the registration of marriages. The Bill is being prepared for publication. It is due to have its Second Reading on 16 December 2016. For progress of the Bill, click here 

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