A campaign to reform the law for people who suffer psychiatric damage following the untimely death or injury of a loved one has been backed by Knowsley MP George Howarth.
The current law was enshrined in the legal cases brought by families of the victims of the Hillsborough stadium disaster, which took place 25 years ago next week. National not-for-profit victims’ group the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) is campaigning for reform of the law which president Matthew Stockwell says has“remained out-of-touch and unfair to victims for too long”.
“The conditions currently imposed on people who want to make a claim to help put their lives back on track are utterly unreasonable,” explained Matthew. “It is time the law recognised that you do not need to be someone’s parent or spouse to love them and suffer real mental harm if they are killed or injured, and you don’t have to be stood next to them when it happens to be traumatised. The law was out-of-touch when it was set all those years ago. Change is long overdue.”
Mr Howarth has tabled an Early Day Motion* calling for the Government to take action, which has attracted support from other MPs across the country.
“Thankfully, events like Hillsborough are few and far between, but those few people who are affected deserve access to justice if they want it. Psychiatric injuries go far beyond grief and can be as debilitating as any physical injury,” said Mr Howarth.
Walton MP and campaigner for the Hillsborough families Steve Rotheram has supported the motion. He said: “The law is full of unintentional consequences, and sadly after the Hillsborough tragedy the law in regard to psychiatric injury was changed to the detriment of the country. It is only right that we look at this legislation again and amend where necessary”.
Notes to editors:
· *Early Day Motion 1224 by George Howarth can be seen here: http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2013-14/1224
· APIL (Association of Personal Injury Lawyers) is a not-for-profit organisation whose members are dedicated to campaigning for improvements in the law to help people who are injured or become ill through no fault of their own.
· For more information contact APIL’s press and communications officers Jane Hartwell on t: 0115 943 5416, m: 07808 768623, e: firstname.lastname@example.org, or Tim Carter t: 0115 943 5409, e: email@example.com.
· Visit the association’s website at www.apil.org.uk.
· Follow @APIL on Twitter: www.twitter.com/APIL.