Vikram Sachdeva QC and Catherine Dobson (together with Stephen McNamara of Kings Chambers) acted in a challenge to the compatibility of section 1A Fatal Accidents Act 1976 with Article 8, and Article 14 read with Article 8, of the European Convention on Human Rights, in Smith v. Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. The hearing took place on 27 and 28 July 2016 before Mr. Justice Edis, and judgment has been reserved.
The Claimant is the surviving partner in an unmarried co-habiting couple, whose former partner died as a result of the negligence of two Trusts. The claim continues against the Secretary of State for Justice, who was joined to defend the refusal of the government to enact a reform first suggested by the Law Commission in 1999 and accepted by the Labour Government in 2007 to permit unmarried cohabiting partners of at least 2 years cohabitation to claim bereavement damages when their partner has been negligently killed. Bereavement damages are intended to compensate for the grief felt by those in a close relationship to the deceased.
See below for press coverage of the case: