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Outdated bereavement laws penalise unmarried fathers

Unmarried fathers are being snubbed as a result of outdated laws on bereavement compensation in England and Wales, the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers has warned.

When a child is wrongfully killed, unmarried dads are penalised as a result of the outdated laws on bereavement compensation. As a result, when parents who are not married or who are in a civil partnership lose a child, the child is classed as ‘illegitimate’ and only the mother is entitled to claim for statutory bereavement damages.

APIL highlights that Office for National Statistics figures show that half of all babies in the UK are born to parents who are not married or in a civil partnership.

This means that in 2021, every other child on the maternity ward in this country has a parent who is not properly recognised in the eyes of the law.

Neil McKinley, President of APIL, said: “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,” he concluded.

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