A not-for-profit organisation
committed to injured people
A not-for-profit organisation
committed to injured people

Dads denied compensation if their children are killed

13 Jun 2024
APIL news

Thousands of dads are denied the same rights as mothers if their children die due to someone else’s negligence, campaigners are highlighting ahead of Fathers’ Day (16 June).

“The law on compensation for bereaved families in England and Wales is woefully out-of-date and offensive,” said Kim Harrison, president of not-for-profit campaign group APIL (the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers) which represents the interests of bereaved families and people injured because of negligence.

APIL is calling on the next Government to reform the law.

“A father who experiences every parent’s worst nightmare does not receive the same recognition of his loss as the mother if they were not married or in a civil partnership when the child was born,” she explained.

“Just imagine a couple’s teenage daughter is killed in a car crash which was the fault of a careless driver. Her grieving mum’s devastating loss is acknowledged by the law and she receives statutory bereavement compensation, but her dad is left out and receives nothing.

“The insinuation is that unwed fathers do not have as close a relationship with their children as those who are married or in civil partnerships with the mothers. It’s an insult,” Kim added.

Today, more than half of babies born in England and Wales are to parents who are not married or in civil partnerships, according to the latest Office of National Statistics (ONS) figures.

“The law is completely out of touch with what a family looks like in 2024. It is obviously unfair and must change,” said Kim.

The rules on which relatives receive the compensation, called statutory bereavement damages, were set in England and Wales more than four decades ago and are in desperate need of a review,” said Kim.

“The compensation is only a small sum but is an acknowledgement of the grief and trauma caused by a death which should never have happened. It can go a long way towards helping grieving parents to accept that the wrongdoer has been held accountable for their child’s death,” she said.

“The next government will have a variety of priorities but this issue must be one of them. It is a gross social injustice. Bereaved families deserve a modern law on bereavement damages which recognises all fathers.

The system is much fairer in Scotland, where there is no problem with recognising modern family relationships. The law in relation to eligibility for bereavement damages is not as restrictive and each case is judged on its own merits,” she added. 



Notes to editors:

Past press releases

More past press releases

Head of Campaigns and Communications
Lorraine Gwinnutt
0115 943 5400
[email protected]

Communications Manager
Jane Hartwell
0115 943 5416
[email protected]

Press and Communications Officer
Julie Crouch
0115 943 5408
[email protected]

Communications Assistant
Zach Wheelhouse Steel
0115 943 5431
[email protected]