Time for Reform of the Statutory Bereavement Award

Leonie Millard
Leonie Millard

Published: August 12th, 2022

7 min read

When a loved one dies there is already so much grief to contend with. If the death was caused by negligence that opens up fresh wounds. No life can be 'valued' in monetary terms, but the law provides a 'token' statutory bereavement award in such cases. This was revised in May 2020 and is currently £15,120.

It is payable to only certain categories of claimant. It is payable only once and would have to be split by those eligible. To qualify, a couple must be married, or have lived together for at least two years. It fails to recognise the commitment of living together from day one.

The Office of National Statistics reports that 51.3% of children were born outside of marriage or civil partnership in 2021. Despite the fact that the make up of families has evolved to reflect modern life, the law has not. This adds insult to injury for a growing number of claimants. APIL ( the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers) have highlighted this issue in their article 'Most new fathers do not count in law on bereavement.'

Current law does not recognise distress caused to the father of a child, who has experienced the death of a child born outside of marriage or civil partnership, or whilst the parents have not cohabited for two years. It is time for change.

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