Association of Personal Injury Lawyers
A not-for-profit organisation representing injured people

Bereavement Damages

Losing a loved one is the worst thing that could ever happen to someone. It must be even more unbearable if the death could have been avoided. No one wants to imagine a loved one leaving home never to return because of the negligence of another person. 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Ireland, bereaved people who claim compensation are treated by a law which is rigid, discriminatory, and woefully out of date.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 close relative is entitled to claim compensation, even if their relationship was incredibly close. The law even denies compensation to grieving fathers if they were not married to the mother of the child they have lost. 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 and compassionate law of Scotland.

Bereavement Damages: A Dis-United Kingdom

In April 2021, APIL published ‘Bereavement Damages: A Dis-United Kingdom’. This new research report examines the different laws across the UK, and shares the stories of those who have been both supported and 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 by APIL president Sam Elsby and immediate past president Gordon Dalyell at a live webinar. You can watch a recording of the launch event below.

Get involved

To learn more about APIL’s campaign, or to get involved, contact Sam Ellis, APIL’s public affairs officer at sam.ellis@apil.org.uk or on 0115 943 5426