A French court has ordered that a British man should be returned more than £30,000 he paid to tax authorities after inheriting a home from his civil partner.

Jerry Lea shared the holiday home in Loir-et-Cher with partner Geoff Page, who owned the property.

When Mr Page died in 2008, he left the home to Mr Lea but at that time, France did not recognise British civil partnerships and Mr Lea was faced with paying 60 per cent inheritance tax, or £98,000 in total.

Mr Lea cited a legal change made in May 2009, which meant that France would recognise civil partnerships as equivalent to its own pacs, or Pacte civil de solidarité, which is available to straight and gay couples.

The law was backdated to August 21st, 2007, meaning he was permitted by the Tribunal de Grande Instance de Bobigny to win back the £31,800 he has paid to date, plus some of his legal costs.

The decision was the first time a court has made a ruling on the legislation.

Mr Lea’s barrister Caroline Mécary told the Connexion that in theory his court case should be the first and only one as authorities should recognise civil partnerships as equivalent to pacs.

However, she said other gay people who have paid undue tax should seek reimbursement.