30 September, 2020
In May 2020 we reported the increase in the bereavement award for fatalities from the 1 May 2020. At that time we highlighted that it did not yet apply to cohabitees, but that change was anticipated. That change will now be brought in with effect from the 6 October 2020, when the Fatal Accident Act 1976 (Remedial ) Order 2020 comes into force. The list of eligible bereaved persons entitled to a share of the statutory bereavement award will be extended to cohabitees. The amount of the award currently stands at £15 120.
It only applies to deaths on or after the 6 October 2020. To be eligible a person must have been living with the deceased as a couple (including same sex couples) immediately prior to the death occurring and for at least 2 years prior to that.
The Explanatory Notes that accompany the Order explain that the award may have to be shared between a cohabiting partner and any wife, husband or civil partner from whom the deceased was not divorced, and it also points out that, infrequent as this might be, it could have to be shared with the parents of a deceased child under the age of 18, if they had been cohabiting for 2 years prior to the child's death.
Where there is more than one eligible person the award is shared equally between them.