News —

Member Nura Taefi acting in landmark Supreme Court relationship property case


May 17, 2022

The Supreme Court has granted leave to appeal the Court of Appeal decision Paul v Mead [2021] NZCA 649, a landmark case concerning the application of the Property (Relationships) Act 1976 to polyamorous relationships.  

After success in the Court of Appeal, Shortland Chambers member Nura Taefi, along with chambers junior Jessica Palairet, are acting for the respondents in the appeal.

The question is whether the Property (Relationships) Act applies to people in polyamorous relationships.

The High Court held that the Family Court does not have jurisdiction to determine claims to property between people in polyamorous relationships, while the Court of Appeal held that it does.

The Court of Appeal slightly re-framed the question to whether the Family Court has jurisdiction to determine claims to property as between two people in a qualifying relationship under the PRA who are also in a polyamorous relationship. The Court of Appeal found that while the Act is premised on coupledom, it need not be exclusive coupledom.

A polyamorous relationship is a consensual, intimate relationship where more than two parties are involved.

This is the first case in New Zealand addressing the rights of people in non-traditional polyamorous relationships, and the first case addressing how existing the Act might accommodate these relationships.

The Supreme Court will hear the appeal on 25 May 2022.

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