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Married Persons (Equality of Status) Act 2011 (NI)

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Act No. 17 of 2011
Other document - Other as made
This is an Act of the previous Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly that was continued in force under s16 and 16A of the Norfolk Island Act 1979.
Administered by: Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development
Registered 07 Dec 2015




NORFOLK                            ISLAND




Married Persons (Equality of Status) Act 2011


Act No. 17 of 2011



An Act to provide for the Equality of Status of Married Persons and to repeal the Married Women’s Property Act 1931 and for related purposes

[Assented to 22 November 2011]

BE IT ENACTED by the Legislative Assembly of Norfolk Island as follows —



Short title

      1.         This Act is the Married Persons (Equality of Status) Act 2011.


      2.         This Act commences on the day on which notification of assent is published in the Gazette.




Division 1 ¾ General rule

Spouses have legal capacity as if they were not married

      3.         (1)        A married person ¾

                  (a)        has legal capacity for all purposes and in all respects as if that person                                   were unmarried; and

                  (b)        has a legal personality that is independent, separate and distinct                                          from that of the person’s spouse.

      (2)        This section does not affect any specific laws in relation to a minor.


Division 2 ¾ Specific examples

Spouses can sue each other in tort

      4.         A husband and wife each has a right of action in tort against the other as if they were not married.

Criminal and civil action in respect of spouse’s property

      5.         A married person is entitled to civil and criminal redress against the person’s spouse for the protection of his or her property as if that person were not married.

Married person has no authority to act as agent of necessity

      6.         A married person does not, by reason only of the person’s status as a spouse, have the authority to pledge the credit of the other spouse for necessaries or to act as agent for the other spouse for the purchase of necessaries.

Married person not liable for debts of spouse incurred before marriage

      7.         Subject to any agreement to the contrary, a married person is not liable for any debt incurred by the person’s spouse before their marriage.

Spouses as beneficiaries

      8.         A husband and wife are to be treated as two separate persons for the purposes of the construction of a will, trust, or other instrument in relation to a gift or other disposition of real or personal property to the husband and wife, unless a contrary intention appears.

Instruments restricting anticipation or alienation are void

      9.         An instrument executed after the commencement of this section is void to the extent that it purports to attach any restriction on anticipation or alienation to the enjoyment of property by a woman that could not have been attached to the enjoyment of property by a man.

Effect of Division

      10.       Nothing in this Division affects the generality of Division 1.


Division 3¾- Other matters

Housekeeping payments and allowances held as joint tenants

      11.       If a married person makes a payment or allowance to the person’s spouse to pay their joint household expenses or for similar purposes, any property bought with the payment or allowance and any money not spent from the payment or allowance is, in the absence of any agreement to the contrary between the person and his or her spouse, taken to belong to the person and the person’s spouse as joint tenants.

Fraudulent investment of spouse’s money

      12.       (1)        If a married person invests money belonging to the person’s spouse without obtaining the consent of the spouse, the spouse can apply to the Supreme Court to have the money transferred to him or her.

                  (2)        The Supreme Court has jurisdiction to order such a transfer and to make any ancillary orders.




      13.       The Administrator may make regulations, not inconsistent with this Act, for or with respect to any matter that by this Act is required or permitted to be prescribed or that is necessary or convenient to be prescribed for carrying out or giving effect to this Act.


      14.       The Acts listed in Schedule 1 are repealed to the extent specified in the Schedule but such repeal does not affect a legal proceeding in respect of a tort if proceedings had been instituted in respect of the tort before the commencement of this Act.

Savings and transitional provisions

      15.       Schedule 2 has effect.


Schedule 1 ─ Repeals

(Section 14)

1.  ─    Married Women’s Property Act 1931

            The whole Act is repealed.

2.  ─    Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1971

Section 9 (Part 3) is repealed.


Schedule 2 ¾ Savings and transitional provisions

(Section 15)

1.         Abolition of common law and dispositions not affected

(1)        The repeal or amendment of an Act by this Act does not revive any rule of the common law or equity abolished or otherwise affected by this Act.

(2)        Subsection (1) does not affect the generality of section 31 of the Interpretation Act 1979.

Note:      Section 31 of the Interpretation Act 1979 preserves certain rights, privileges, obligations and liabilities arising under a repealed Act.

2.         Time and place of marriage irrelevant

A provision of this Act applies to married persons whether married before or after the commencement of the provision and whether married in Norfolk Island or another place.



Notified Gazette No. 51, 25 November 2011.

Commenced on gazettal (25 November 2011.)

Printed on the authority of the Administrator.


© Norfolk Island Government 2011

The Copyright Act 1968 of the Commonwealth of Australia permits certain reproduction and publication of this legislation.  For reproduction or publication beyond that permitted by the Act, written permission must be sought from the Legislative Counsel, Administration of Norfolk Island, Norfolk Island, South Pacific 2899.