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Bereavement Damages

Volume 181: debated on Wednesday 21 November 1990

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To ask the Attorney-General whether the Government propose to increase the level of bereavement damages under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976; and if he will make a statement.

Following a review announced last year, the Government have decided that the statutory level of bereavement damages which may be awarded by the courts in England and Wales in fatal accident cases should be raised from the figure of £3,500 fixed in 1982 to £7,500.In accordance with the provisions of section 1A of the Fatal Accidents Act 1976, the Lord Chancellor will shortly be making the necessary order, which is subject to the negative resolution procedure, to implement the increase to £7,500 which will take effect in relation to deaths occurring on or after 1 April 1991. A separate order will be made at the same time, under article 3A of the Fatal Accidents (Northern Ireland) Order 1977, to effect a similar increase in the level of the award in Northern Ireland.The proposed new level of £7,500 will also apply, with effect from 1 April 1991, to cases where a bereavement award is made under the criminal injuries compensation scheme in England and Wales.My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland intends to bring forward an order increasing the level of bereavement award to £7,500 under the statutory criminal injuries compensation scheme in the Province.