Today, the Northern Ireland Department of Justice has announced that bereavement damages available in Northern Ireland are to be increased from £11,800 to £14,400.
This follows the consultation launched by the Department in October 2015 about whether the level of compensation payable to families whose loved ones have been needlessly killed in Northern Ireland should be increased. The DOJ consultation paper stated that any increase in the bereavement damages should either bring Northern Ireland in line with England and Wales at £12,980, or with the level of inflation, estimated at £14,339.
After consultation, the Department has agreed that bereavement damages in Northern Ireland will be increased by inflation, rounded to the nearest £100, and will be adjusted every three years. Northern Ireland will now have higher bereavement damages than England and Wales. The system in Scotland remains that each case is judged and evaluated on its own merits.
“This is a fantastic result for Northern Ireland citizens who up to now received less bereavement damages in Northern Ireland than anyone else in the United Kingdom. Whilst no amount of money can ever replace a loved one, bereavement damages do at least acknowledge that a death has been caused needlessly. The level of payment previously available was woefully inadequate and so the DOJ announcement of this increase is a step in the right direction.”