Following a meeting with the Minister for Equality, Integration and Human Rights in April 2010 at which the Ombudsman raised concerns brought to the attention of her Office regarding the omission of children from the Civil Partnership Bill 2009, the Minister invited the Ombudsman to submit advice on the Bill.
The OCO set out its views on the Civil Partnership Bill in July 2010, highlighting the manner in which the Bill failed to include adequate provision for children and setting out how the Bill could make better provision for those that would be affected by it. Of particular concern to the OCO was the specific way in which children were considered in drafting the Bill. Many provisions of the Bill were derived from other areas of family law where there is an obligation on the courts to consider the needs of dependent children of the family, such as in the context of shared home protection, dissolution, maintenance and succession. However, in the equivalent sections of the Civil Partnership Bill, references to the need to provide for any dependent children of the family were deliberately removed.