Unmarried dads whose children are wrongfully killed are snubbed by the woefully outdated law on bereavement compensation in Northern Ireland.
When grieving parents are not married or in a civil partnership, their child is classed as ‘illegitimate’ and only the mother is entitled to claim statutory bereavement damages.
New figures from the Northern Ireland Statistic and Research Agency show that almost half of all babies in Northern Ireland are born to parents who are not married. This means that every other child on the maternity ward in this country, in 2021, has a parent who is not properly recognised in the eyes of the law.
Losing a child is the worst thing that can happen to a parent. In these cases, the death could and should have been avoided. These are children who died because of negligence, such as in car crashes or failures in medical care. The heartbreak and trauma suffered by their fathers is ignored.
The statistics prove that the current law is out of touch with modern family relationships. Change is long overdue.
Officer for Northern Ireland
Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL)