Vikram Sachdeva QC and Catherine Dobson obtain declaration of incompatibility against s1A Fatal Accidents Act 1976 in that it excludes 2 years + cohabitees

Vikram Sachdeva QC and Catherine Dobson obtain declaration of incompatibility against s1A Fatal Accidents Act 1976 in that it excludes 2 years + cohabitees


CategoryNews Author Vikram Sachdeva QC, Catherine Dobson Date

Jakki Smith cohabited with her partner John Bulloch for over 11 years. However when he died as a result of clinical negligence, she was not eligible to receive bereavement damages for grief owing to their unmarried status, although paradoxically she was entitled to claim damages for loss of dependency. She argued that it was a breach of Article 8 read with Article 14 to deprive cohabitees of at least two years’ cohabitation of bereavement damages. Edis J rejected her claim, on the sole basis that bereavement damages were not within the ambit of Article 8. The Court of Appeal allowed her appeal, and granted a declaration of incompatibility, holding that bereavement damages were within the scope of Article 8 because they were awarded to close family members in recognition of their grief, and were therefore one of the modalities by which the state showed respect for Article 8.

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