DOES FATAL ACCIDENT LEGISLATION TREAT GAY MEN AND GAY WOMEN DIFFERENTLY?

FATAL ACCIDENTS AND ACTIONS ARISING FROM DEATH

As currently drafted the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 could treat gay men and gay women differently. Here I look at the reason why and examine the possible solution.

SECTION 3(3) OF THE FATAL ACCIDENTS ACT 1976

Section 3(3) of the Act provides that, in assessing damages, the court disregards the prospects of re-marriage and marriage of a widow.

“(3)     In an action under this Act where there fall to be assessed damages payable to a widow in respect of the death of her husband there shall not be taken account the re-marriage of the widow or her prospects of re-marriage.”

The reason for this is because it was thought distasteful for a judge to have to re-assess the prospects of re-marriage of a widow. Essentially the (then invariably male) judge to look her up and down and consider whether she was attractive enough to find another husband. (I have read…

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