Current laws discriminate against bereaved fathers who have lost a child. Things need to change according to the leading not-for-profit group, APIL.

If a child dies because of negligence, the father won’t receive compensation if he is not married or in a civil partnership.

However, more than half of babies born in England and Wales last year were born to parents who were not married or in a civil partnership.


“This means that most new fathers will be denied bereavement damages if their child is killed by someone’s negligence, for example in a car crash,” said John McQuater, president of APIL, the not-for-profit campaign group which is calling for an overhaul of the law.

“The person responsible is excused from paying bereavement compensation to the father if the child is what the law describes as “illegitimate”,’ he explained. “It’s archaic and discriminatory and should not be happening in 2022”.

In England and Wales, 51.3% of children were born outside of marriage or a civil partnership, according to the new data published by the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

“This figure equates to nearly 320,500 new fathers who do not count as far as this law is concerned,” said McQuater.


“The compensation is just a small sum but it goes some way to helping to atone for the death which should never have happened. The system is far fairer in Scotland, where the law is not as restrictive and each case is judged individually. We need to catch up.

“It has been 40 years since the law was passed and it shows in how out of touch it is with society. It is high time for reform,” said McQuater.

The current law only allows spouses, civil partners, and parents of children under the age of 18 to claim. If the child is ‘illegitimate’ only the mother can claim leaving out bereaved fathers.

Scottish courts assess damages on a case-by-case basis. It is not based on specific titles. But factors such as, whether the parents are cohabitating or what feelings there are, play a part.

APIL continues to campaign for justice for Fathers.


Committee calls for law reform of bereavement damages


Bereavement damages in Northern Ireland set to increase


Baby Loss Support




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