Unmarried woman wins landmark legal fight over bereavement damages

A woman has won her landmark battle for greater legal recognition for unmarried couples who suffer bereavement.

Jakki Smith and John Bulloch.
Jakki Smith and John Bulloch.

Jakki Smith, who lost her partner of 16 years in October 2011, argued that her inability to claim bereavement damages was a breach of her human rights.

The 59-year-old NHS worker, of Chorley, Lancashire, discovered she was not entitled to the sum of £11,800, which is paid out if a person dies as a result of negligence - but only to spouses or civil partners - after 66-year-old John Bulloch died after an infection was missed.

Mr Bulloch, a former prison governor, underwent the removal of a benign tumour on his right foot in August 2011 and fell ill while on holiday in Turkey.

On Tuesday, the Court of Appeal allowed her challenge against a High Court ruling dismissing her claim.