Losing a loved one is the worst thing that could ever happen to someone. It is even more unbearable if the death could have been avoided. APIL campaigns for families to receive the support they need when the worst does happen.
Bereavement Damages: A Dis-United Kingdom
Fatal Accidents Act (Remedial) Order 2020
Victims and Prisoners Bill
When the worst does happen, bereaved people need our support and compassion, and it should not matter where in the United Kingdom they live. But it does. The way bereaved families are treated by the law is a postcode lottery.
In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, bereaved people who claim compensation are treated by a law which is rigid, discriminatory, and woefully out of date. Not everyone who loses a relative is entitled to compensation, even if their relationship was incredibly close. The law even denies compensation to a grieving father if his child was labelled by the law as "illegitimate". In Scotland it is different. The law has no difficulty recognising the closeness between parents, children of all ages, grandparents, siblings and other people who lived with the deceased as part of the family.
APIL is campaigning to put an end to this postcode lottery, and for the law in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to follow the modern law of Scotland. You can find out more about our work on bereavement damages below:
APIL’s short film highlights the unfairness in the law on statutory bereavement damages in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
Watch Sabiha Ozseker share her story of being ineligible for bereavement damages. She was very close to her father, Dogan, but is not eligible for the award after he was killed as a result of clinical negligence. The aim is to raise awareness of the archaic law that fails to recognise many bereft relatives when their loved ones die because of negligence.
In April 2021, APIL published ‘Bereavement Damages: A Dis-United Kingdom’. This research report examines the different laws across the UK, and shares the stories of those who have been both supported or let down by those laws. It also includes exclusive YouGov research, commissioned by APIL, on public attitudes to the law on bereavement damages.
The research report was launched at a live webinar. You can watch a recording of the launch event below.
Watch the recording of the launch event
Download the research report
The Fatal Accidents Act 1976 (Remedial) Order 2020 extended the eligibility of bereavement damages in England and Wales to couples who have lived together for at least two years.
It was unacceptable that the Government failed to take the opportunity to address the wider unfairness of statutory bereavement damages in England and Wales. The Government's refusal to consider further reform is an insult to bereaved families. It flies in the face of consistent lobbying for modernisation of the law, and a clear recommendation from the Joint Committee on Human Rights (which published two calls for evidence on the remedial order) for a consultation on reform because the law is "discriminatory against certain close family members".
APIL’s written evidence to the joint committee after the first call for evidence
Joint Committee on Human Rights report July 2019 – Fatal Accidents Act 1976 (Remedial) Order
UK Government response to the joint committee’s report
APIL’s written evidence to the joint committee after the second call for evidence
Joint Committee on Human Rights report May 2020 – Fatal Accidents Act 1976 (Remedial) Order
APIL’s parliamentary briefing on the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 (Remedial) Order 2020
APIL members in England, Wales and Northern Ireland can support the campaign by writing to their elected representatives in either the House of Commons or the Northern Ireland Assembly. To get involved, and for help and advice in writing to politicians, please contact Sam Ellis at [email protected] or on 0115 943 5426.
The Government has proposed the creation of independent public advocates (IPAs) to support victims and their families after a major incident. The proposals have been included in the Victims and Prisoners Bill. It is the experience of our members who support victims and their families after major incidents that initially they do not know where to turn for advice and support. Some victims and families may have the support of a specialist lawyer who can help, but this involvement may not happen for weeks, months or even years after the incident. Some people may not involve a lawyer at all. An IPA will, therefore, provide a necessary and important role for victims and their families. It must, however, have the appropriate resources if it is to work effectively for victims and their families.
APIL's parliamentary briefing for House of Commons second reading
Terms & conditions
Privacy & cookies