In a landmark decision, NHS worker Jakki Smith, from Lancashire, today won her legal battle for better rights for unmarried people whose long-term partner dies. Currently a fixed sum of £12,980 is paid out if a person dies as a result of negligence, but only to spouse or civil partners. Her partner, John Bulloch, fell ill and died following an operation in August 2011 after an infection was missed by medics.
The Court of Appeal allowed Ms Smith's challenge against a initial High Court ruling dismissing her claim. Her legal team argued the current legislation breeched the European Convention of Human Rights and said the award should be available to anyone who had been in a relationship for at least two years.