Andy McDonald MP (Labour) has tabled the Negligence and Damages Bill 2015/16 in Parliament. The first part seeks to amend the law to place psychiatric injury on a similar footing to suffering direct physical harm. Parts 2 and 3 of the Bill repeal the Fatal Accident Act 1976, which allows payment of only a fixed sum for bereavement damages that can be claimed only by the spouse or civil partner of the deceased and the parents of unmarried children under the age of 18.
The private member’s Bill has drawn from a survey carried out by APIL, which looked into public attitudes around bereavement. More than half of respondents are said to have thought bereavement damages should be more than £100,000.
For the Bill to become law, the Government would effectively have to informally sponsor the Bill. This is very unlikely in the absence of significant cross-party support. The Bill is scheduled for Second Reading in the House of Commons on 4 December 2015.