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Compensation claim taken to Europe

09/09/11: A woman whose partner was killed in an accident at work was told she was not entitled to claim compensation as the couple were not married, is taking her case to the European Court of Human Rights.

Laurie Swift had been in a relationship with her partner Alan Walker and was pregnant with his child when he was killed in an industrial accident at his place of work in Sheffield.

Ms Swift has managed to make a successful claim for compensation on behalf of her son with Mr Walker who is also named Alan, but she has been told she can’t claim anything herself as she was not married to her sons father at the time he died.

The legislation used in order to make such a claim, The Fatal Accidents Act 1976 is reflective of the views of society at that time, when a relationship would only be legally recognised if the couple were married.

Whilst times have changed and so many people now live together and have children without getting married, the law still does not recognise this.

Ms Swift’s Solicitor Simon Allen feels that Ms Swift should pursue European Court action on the basis that there has been a breach in her Human Rights. It is astonishing that the mother can obtain damages for the child, but is not able to recover damages for herself.