HC Deb 27 November 2002 vol 395 cc319-20W
Mr. Russell Brown

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement on the implications of the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Ken Willis-application No. 36042/97; and if he will make a statement. [83036]

Malcolm Wicks

In June 2002 the European Court of Human Rights found that the UK Government had violated the Convention in respect of Mr. Ken Willis by not paying him the Widowed Mother's Allowance and Widow's Payment that he would have been entitled to had he been a woman in the same circumstances. The Court ordered a payment equivalent to the benefit that he would have received had he been a woman and an amount in respect of interest. The Government is not contesting that judgement.

Litigation remains before the domestic and Strasbourg Courts. The Court of Appeal heard arguments in the domestic cases during week commencing 7 October and judgment was reserved. The European Court of Human Rights has postponed further hearings of applications by widowers until the completion of the domestic litigation.

The Government never speculates about the outcomes of cases or the decisions that it may take.

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