Damages for bereavement: differing valuations across UK jurisdictions

The announcement yesterday (19 March 2020) of an inflationary increase in statutory bereavement damages in England & Wales once again brings approaches to valuing of this head of loss into focus. This piece looks at the differences across jurisdictions within the UK. It is worth emphasising that this is an entirely devolved topic for the UK’s constituent jurisdictions and that there is no evidence at all of any legislative moves towards harmonisation in this discrete area.

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Fatal Accidents Act 1976 – modest changes confirmed by MoJ

The Smith case in 2017 concluded that the 1976 Act’s bar on of cohabitants recovering bereavement damages was incompatible with Convention rights. The Ministry of Justice signalled it would rectify the Act and this week published its proposals to do so.

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“The somewhat controversial function of bereavement damages” – part II

Last October a report was posted here under the above title. This phrase was taken from a paper issued by the Department of Justice in Northern Ireland (DoJNI) in which it outlined approaches for bringing statutory bereavement damages awards up to date. Further details were provided in this post in mid-October. On 29 January 2016, the DoJNI reported that it has decided to increase the statutory award, when legislative time allows, in line with the Consumer Prices Index (CPI). It also said that further updating of the figure should happen every three years. The body of this post also reports on two related matters in England and Wales. Continue reading