In 2017 in Smith v Lancashire the Court of Appeal held that exclusion of a deceased’s co-habiting partner from entitlement to bereavement damages under s1A of the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 breached European Convention rights. That outcome placed the government under an obligation to amend the Act (detailed in this post back in February). This specific and limited change has just moved closer, with the necessary draft order being approved in the House of Lords last week and expected to take effect soon.Continue reading
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.
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.