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MOJ review means no change to bereavement damages

By Clare Gooch

Published In: Clinical Negligence

A disappointing result this week for many following the ministry of justices review of bereavement damages, which has resulted in no change to eligibility or value.

family group holding roses

The current position is that bereavement damages can only be applied by a spouse/partner or in the case of a minor, their parents. The current value is £15,120.

The current legislation allows an award if you are a: 

  • spouse or partner of the deceased
  • partner of deceased having lived together for more than two years 
  • parents of a legitimate minor i.e. where the parents are married at the time the child is conceived or born 
  • the mother where a child is not a legitimate minor i.e. where the parents are not married at the time the child is conceived or born.

Many families across England and Wales are often distressed to learn they are not able to claim bereavement damages due to the restrictions imposed by the current legislation.

Those that are excluded are:

  • unmarried fathers of minors
  • parents of adult children
  • children who have lost a parent.

This often leads to great distress on top of an already difficult time for families.

It is noted the legislation in Scotland takes into consideration the relationships of non-traditional families, with a wider group able to claim a bereavement award.

The MOJ has stated that the existing legal framework regarding bereavement damages is thought to be practical and proportionate. They have also stated that their concerns in potentially extending the eligibility criteria leading to further upset within families with intrusive enquiries having to be made as to the nature of relationships. 

The campaign to alter and change the legislation continues.

We act on behalf of so many families who have lost a loved one, some of whom are eligible for a bereavement award and some who aren’t. We endeavour to support our clients as best as we can to secure the best possible result in respect of their claim. We continue to support APIL in their campaign to change the legislation to include excluded parties. 

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Clare has worked in Medical Negligence for over 10 years.  She’s a Solicitor in our Medical Negligence team based in Switalskis’ London office.


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