Corries Solicitors - Personal Injury Specialists - FREEPHONE 0800 655 6550


Bereavement damages – change means fairer compensation for thousands

Bereavement awards following the death of an unmarried partner will be made in the future following a Court of Appeal decision recently. A change in the law will affect thousands each year.

Bereavement Award-The Case

Miss Jakki Smith, an NHS worker took the government to court for breaching her human rights as she was denied bereavement damages following the death of her partner.

Miss Smith had been with her partner John Bulloch for 16 years. Problems started when he had a benign tumour on his right foot removed.  He suffered infection and died shortly after.

The Law on Bereavement.

The Law which dictates these damages is the Fatal Accidents Act. The Act, made in 1976, some 41 years ago has had some udpates but the law confines damages as follow:-

(1) An action under this Act may consist of or include a claim for damages for bereavement.

(2) A claim for damages for bereavement shall only be for the benefit—

(a) of the wife or husband[or civil partner] of the deceased; and

(b)where the deceased was a minor who was never married[or a civil partner]

(i)of his parents, if he was legitimate; and

(ii)of his mother, if he was illegitimate.

Currently if someone dies and can claim the award is £12,980.

Miss Smith challenged the law and in particular drew reference to the difference between the 1976 Act and rights under the European Convention.  Her first trial on the issue failed. The Court of Appeal has overruled the first initial High Court decision. Most noteworthy is that the judges said that the court was in need of reform.

Unfortunately Miss Smith will not benefit financially. However the decision will help others who are unmarried and may result in a review of the law which could extend it further still. The law will need change and this could happen quickly.

bereavement award
bereavement awards should be extended to many more

Bereavement Awards -Comment

At Corries we help a large number of people who have lost a loved one due to medical failings or asbestos diseases.  Corries Director Howard Bonnett added

“This is a welcome and long overdue decision. I hope it leads to a wholesale change in the law. The rights of those who suffer bereavement after the loss of a family member have long been overlooked by old law.

We live in an age where less people marry each year and the failure rates of marriage put many off.  Looking again at unmarried partners and others affected such as siblings, step children and others is much needed. Not everyone is brought up in the traditional “nuclear family”. Bereavement is such a visceral and heart breaking thing to suffer – the law should reflect this for all those affected.

The Law Commission looked at this issue in 2009 but a change the law was shelved. I hope the government gets this “off the shelf” and into law as quickly as possible. Change should be quick and wide and fair for everyone”

Corries claims Solicitors act for many affected by claims for deceased people. Call our friendly team FREE on 0800 655 6550 for a free confidential discussion. Click here to our home page //



Client Testimonials

£28,000 Awarded

Gloria Langton

“I don’t think I could have coped without you and your professionalism especially on the day of the final inquest which was particularly harrowing for me. Your kindness and patience towards my father whilst he was ill was also very much appreciated.  I have and will continue to recommend you to friends, colleagues and family for your services.”


£19,000 Awarded

Ms Meakin

“I am very happy that this claim is now finally settled and thank you so much for the service you provided. It was exemplary. And you have been most patient with my numerous phone calls.”

£118,000 Awarded

Ms F Johnson

“I would like to thank you for your kindness to my Mother Marion Harrison during the last months regarding the claim against the MOD due to Roy’s untimely passing. Roy was one of the finest men I have ever known. Mum has appreciated all your efforts and expertise on her behalf. Thank you.”

£90,000 Awarded

Mrs V Rogers

“On behalf of Adrian and myself I would like to thank you very much for your help and endeavours to reach this satisfactory outcome.”

£22,500 Awarded

Mrs Andrews, Hertfordshire.

“I am delighted to confirm receipt of our cheque concluding our case. Thank you so much for your support throughout the process. I have really appreciated your balanced guidance and sensitivity which gave me the confidence to pursue the claim. Hopefully we won’t need your services again but if we do we will certainly be in contact! So thank you again and wishing you every success in the future.”

£55,000 Awarded

Charles & Ann Parker, Bracknell.

“Ann and I want to thank you very much for all your hard work in the successful conclusion of my case. It has been a great pleasure, once again thank you for everything”

£1,024 Awarded

Pamela Tegg, Southampton.

“I thank you most sincerely for all the effort you put in on my behalf. I hope your employers are proud of the fact you work so efficiently and to such high standards.”

£9,000 Awarded

Keith Aston, Bristol.

“Thank you for the cheque for £9,000 in settlement of my claim. Fingers crossed there will not be any further accidents; however I would like to thank you for the professional manner you dealt with my accident claim. The most important part of a solicitors job is communication and I must thank you for the way you kept me updated on what was going on.”

£130,000 Awarded

June Abbott, York.

“Thank you for handling Peters claim and getting settlement.”


£20,000 Awarded

Anthony Richards, Hull.

“It was always nice talking to you. You were always there! And made me feel secure and important for the few moments.”


Tel: 0800 655 6550 | Fax: 01904 527431 |

Corries Solicitors Ltd, Melroses Yard, Walmgate, York, YO1 9XF. Registered number: 5517012. Corries Solicitors Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under number: 424101. Corries are licenced by the Office of Fair Trading under the consumer credit act 1974 Ref No: 656678/1