Family Law Hub

McLaughlin, Re Judicial Review (Northern Ireland) (Rev 1) [2018] UKSC 48

In a tweet: Supreme Court rules in favour of bereaved mother who was not married to her children’s father

  • In brief: The Supreme Court found that denying bereavement benefits to unmarried, cohabiting partners with children was incompatible with Articles 8 and 14 European Convention on Human Rights. Widowed parent's allowance is a contributory, non-means-tested, social security benefit payable to men and women with dependent children, who were widowed before March 2017. Under s 39A Social Security Contributions and Benefits (Northern Ireland) Act 1992 ('s 39A') the widowed parent can only claim the allowance if he or she was married to or the civil partner of the deceased. 

    The majority found that the exclusion of all unmarried couples from receipt of WPA will not always amount to unjustified discrimination, but it will inevitably do so in a legally significant number of cases, which was sufficient to require the court to make a declaration of incompatibility under s 4(2) Human Rights Act 1998.

    Read the full text of the judgment on Bailii

Case note, published: 26/10/2018

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Published: 26/10/2018

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