HL Deb 27 October 1982 vol 435 cc566-7

6 Clause 13, page 11, line 29, at end insert— '(aa) any person, not being the spouse of the injured person, who was, at the time of the act or omission giving rise to liability in the responsible person, living with the injured person as husband or wife:'.

7 Clause 14, page 12, line 31, at end insert— '(4) In section 10(2) of the said Act of 1976 (meaning of "deceased person's immediate family"), after the word "(a)" there shall he inserted the word "(aa)", and in paragraph 1 of Schedule 1 to that Act there shall he inserted after subparagraph (a) the following— "(aa) any person, not being the spouse of the deceased, who was, immediately before the deceased's death, living with the deceased as husband or wife:".'.

Lord Mackay of Clashfern

My Lords, I beg to move that this House doth agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 6 and 7. These amendments give effect to the Government's further consideration of the scope of "relatives" for the purposes of an action for damages. As a significant minority of caring and stable relationships now exist outside marriage, we have concluded that it would be unjust to deny to an injured person's unmarried partner the right to damages. In order to be consistent, the same extension is applied to the Damages (Scotland) Act 1976 as to Part II of the Bill, in respect of damages for both loss of support, which may he claimed by relatives of the deceased, and loss of society, which are restricted to claims from the immediate family. As your Lordships will remember, a similar amendment was moved by my noble and learned friend in relation to the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 for England and Wales. I beg to move.

Moved, That this House doth agree with the Commons in the said amendments.—(Lord Mackay of Clashfern.)

Lord Mishcon

My Lords, the House will remember well the debate that took place on this matter when we were considering the law of England and Wales and the desirability in this day and age, whatever our personal views may he as to the sanctity of marriage, that relationships of husband and wife which occur so often in unfortunate circumstances should be recognised for the purposes of this part of the Bill. It is obviously right that there should be uniformity throughout the United Kingdom.

On Question, Motion agreed to.