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APIL survey calls for higher bereavement damages

Currently, in England and Wales, bereavement damages are fixed at £12,980.

The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) raised issues with this fixed number and called for £100,000 bereavement damages.

Matthew Stockwell, president of APIL, explained the benefits of having a system similar to the one they have in Scotland, “Cases are taken on their merits, damages are generally higher and the law is much more flexible about who can receive them.”

In England and Wales, bereavement damages are paid to the husband, wife or civil partner of the victim- or the parents of children under the age of 18. This does not include the Fiancée or Fiancé of the victim or co-habitee.

According to a survey published by APIL, 80% of respondents supported the review of the law in England and Wales and advocated the need for a system similar to that in Scotland.

Furthermore, the survey indicated that the majority of the 2,000 people involved believe that the fixed sum is not high enough, with a staggering 57% saying a figure of more than £100,000 would be more appropriate. The survey also showed support regarding the extension of people who are eligible to receive bereavement damages and called for more flexibility in this area.

“It is particularly distasteful to me that the parents of a child under the age of 18 should be entitled to bereavement damages but, once the child is 18, they are not. It is unnatural for a parent to suffer the loss of a child, and that loss is no less if the child happens to be over the age of 18.” Stockwell said.

As an amendment to the 1976 Fatal Accidents Act, the Ministry of Justice increased to amount from £11,800 in March this year.

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