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I went from owning my own flat to homeless.. this pounds 40k payout is for me and those who will come after me; Thousands more cases will follow.

Byline: Jack Mathieson

A WOMAN left homeless and broke after she split up with her partner has been awarded pounds 40,000 in a landmark legal case.

Jessamine Gow quit her job and sold her home before moving in with Angus Grant prior to Edinburgh's property boom but had nowhere to go when they split up.

She sued him and, after a long-running legal wrangle, judges at the Supreme Court in London have awarded her the value of the increase in her old flat that she missed out on during their seven years together.

It is being hailed as a landmark judgment under new laws giving extra protection to cohabiting couples and could open the door to claims from unmarried partners who split up.

Jessamine, now living in sheltered housing in the capital's Restalrig, said: "I put everything into that relationship, both emotionally and financially, and I lost it all.

"I went from owning my own flat, which I'd worked all my life for, and ended up homeless and penniless.

"There were difficult times throughout the court case but I never felt like giving up because I believed in what I was fighting for, not just for me but for everyone else who will come after me."

Grandmother-of-six Jessamine met part-time lecturer turned courier Angus, 69, at a singles club in 2001.

A few months and a handful of dates later, he suggested she move into his detached pounds 200,000 home in Penicuik, Midlothian.

me 'I he e put They got engaged and she sold her flat but the relationship ended in 2008 due, Jessamine said, to his refusal to marry her.

everything into Jessamine, 75, who had to register herself as homeless, originally took her fight for compensation kon relationship and to Edinburgh Sheriff Court. all' The value of her flat when moved out of Angus's home was listed as pounds 88,000 - pounds 38,000 more than she sold it for six years earlier. urt. hen she me in July 2009 She was awarded a payout but her ex-partner contested the judgment at the Court of Session and the wrangle went to the UK's highest civil court.

However, Jessamine, who is studying computer skills at college, said the cash had been eaten up by legal fees.

At their former home, Angus said: "I'm disappointed by the decision but I do not want to make any further comment while I consider the judgment."

The Supreme Court justices, led by lost it Scots judge Lord Hope, Angus should pay Jessamine pounds 39,500.

ruled Jessami They stre not put cohabiting stressed the ruling does couples on the same legal footing as married ones.

But it does create a precedent that could allow unmarried couples to seek financial compensation similar to that available to divorcing couples.

Family law specialist John Fotheringham predicted 1000 Scottish couples a year could be affected.

And Strathclyde University economics professor Robert Wright warned: "It will make people rethink cohabitation.

"It might lead to people waiting longer, so we could see less cohabitation, less marriage and less fertility."

EXPERT: HUGE CHANGE FOR COUPLES ONE of Scotland's leading cohabitation law experts believes the judgment will have far-reaching implications for all cohabiting couples should their relationship end.

Gillian Crandles, who works for Turcan Connell, based in Edinburgh and Glasgow, thinks the Supreme Court ruling will open the door to hundreds of fresh cases.

She said: "Through this judgment, it is becoming clearer that the consequences of ending a relationship may go way beyond emotional turmoil.

"Many of the growing number of cohabiting couples won't be aware of this, which is why a public information campaign now needs to be put in place to educate people.

"Couples who don't want to fall into this type of legal battle in the event of separation ought to put in place a pre-cohabitation agreement, opting out of this regime given its potentially far-reaching consequences.

"The judgment also states reference could be made during a cohabitation case to the current legislation regarding the economic advantages and disadvantages accrued during a divorce, which goes further than many might have expected."


PARADISE LOST J Angus's Penicuik home TRAUMATIC Jessamine is living in sheltered housing CONCERNS JGillian Crandles
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 6, 2012
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