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Rebecca Probert





School of Law
University of Warwick
Tel: 02476 524484

Research Interests

The unifying theme of my research is the boundary between marriage and cohabitation. This has two dimensions. The first is the way in which marriage is defined to distinguish it from cohabitation, or from non-marriage. The second is the question of whether legal rights should be accorded to relationships outside marriage and, if so, how such relationships should be defined. I am particularly interested in the historical definition and treatment of marriage, bigamy, and cohabitation. My reassessment of the Clandestine Marriages Act of 1753 was published in 2009, and my history of the law's treatment of cohabiting couples in 2012, both by Cambridge University Press. I have also published guides to marriage law, bigamy and divorce for those interested in family history and am currently working on a new book exploring how the law of bigamy operated in practice. In 2015 I acted as specialist advisor to the Law Commission on a project examining the process of getting married. I welcome applications from prospective PhD students in the areas of family law (in particular projects relating to marriage, divorce, cohabitation, bigamy) and property law (in particular the family home, constructive trusts).


BA (Oxon), LLM (Lond).

Research Projects

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Books and Chapters
  • Probert, Rebecca, 2015. Divorced, bigamist, bereaved? The family historian's guide to marital breakdown, separation, widowhood and remarriage : from 1600 to the 1970s: Kenilworth, Takeaway, View
  • Probert, Rebecca, 2012. The changing legal regulation of cohabitation : from fornicators to family, 1600-2010: Cambridge, UK ; New York, Cambridge University Press, View
  • Probert, Rebecca, 2012. Marriage law for genealogists : the definitive guide: Kenilworth, Takeaway, View
  • Probert, Rebecca, 2009. Marriage law and practice in the long eighteenth century : a reassessment: Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, View

View All Publications

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