The case of Mendoza was deliberated to allow the inclusion of surviving homosexual spouses under the Rent Act 1977 which later led to the draft of the Civil Partnerships Act 2004 to include homosexual couples in other modified Acts as well. The decision of the court in that case strongly proved how common law overpowers the statute law in responding to social changes such as one in Mendoza. This essay will be divided into three parts based on the structure of the question. The first part will explain the reasons as to why the Lords came to their conclusion in Mendoza. The second part will state the main provisions of the Civil Partnership Act 2004 while the last part provides a critical analysis as to why one believes that the common law responds better to social change than statute law.
Lords’ reasoning in Mendoza.
Lord Nicholls of Birkenhead, Lord Steyn, Lord Rodger of Earlsferry and Baroness Hale of Richmond all agreed in the dismissal of the appeal. After deliberating, the four lords claimed two reasons for their decision: the absence of a legitimate aim for treating homosexual and heterosexual couples differently and the debatable interpretation of the meaning of the Rent Act 1977 Sch.1, para.2 under Section 3 of the Human Rights Act 1998. Only Lord Millett dissented and allowed the appeal due to the fact that he did not regard homosexual couples to fall under the category of “his or her wife or husband”.
(i) The absence of a legitimate aim.
Mr. Godin-Mendoza wanted the privilege of being given statutory tenancy like a surviving heterosexual spouse would attain. The basis of his claim was that the difference in treatment infringes Art. 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights read in conjunction with Art. 8. The fact that he was judged on the grounds of his sexual orientation without any good reason lacks justification and was an apparent discrimination.
The four Lords saw no good reason in not giving a homosexual surviving spouse the...