Restitution of conjugal rights

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In English law, restitution of conjugal rights was an action in the ecclesiastical courts. It was one of the actions relating to marriage, over which the ecclesiastical courts formerly had jurisdiction.

This could be brought against a husband or wife who was guilty of "subtraction"; that is, living away from their spouse without a good reason. If the suit was successful, the married couple would be required to live together again.[1]

A Law Commission report in 1969 recommended its abolition.[2] The action was abolished by the Matrimonial Proceedings and Property Act 1970.[3]


  1. ^ William Blackstone (1753), Commentaries on the Laws of England, Book 3, Chapter VII "Of the cognizance of private wrongs", Section 1.2
  2. ^ The Law Commission (Law Com. No. 23) Proposal for the abolition of the matrimonial remedy of restitution of conjugal rights''
  3. ^ Matrimonal Proceedings Act 1970, s.20