Landmark Supreme Court Decision - Statements

Laura Banks

30 August 2018


Statements from Siobhan McLaughlin and her legal team following the Judgment handed down today by the Supreme Court.



Siobhan McLaughlin

For me, this case was always about the rights of bereaved children.  I am so delighted that the Supreme Court shared our view that the law as it stands has discriminated against my children.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank an amazing team, to Denise Forde from Citizens Advice, Laura McMahon and with special thanks to Laura Banks at Francis Hanna & Co Solicitors.  I hope that my taking and succeeding with this challenge gives other both confidence and courage to continue to challenge the unfairness and inequalities in our laws in NI and throughout the UK.

Laura Banks, Solicitor, Francis Hanna & Co

"This is an extremely significant victory, not only for Siobhan and her children, but for thousands of families throughout the UK.  An estimated 2,000 families each year are turned away from bereavement benefits because of this legislation which the Supreme Court has today clearly stated is unjustifiably discriminatory.

We are absolutely delighted with this landmark decision and the tremendous impact it should have on the lives of families in times of great need. We consider that it finally puts an end to this shameful, almost Victorian discrimination.  We urge the government to act without delay to implement the required changes to the law for the benefit of bereaved families such as Siobhan's."

Martin Hanna, Senior Partner, Francis Hanna & Co Solicitors

“We are proud of this result and of Siobhan and her family’s resolve to take this case all the way to the Supreme Court.  Both Siobhan and our own Laura Banks simply refused to give up.   Why would they have?  They believed, as did all of the lawyers involved on behalf of Siobhan, that the law was simply wrong and unfair and needed to be changed.  We commend the Supreme Court and all of the Judges who carefully considered the case for their excellent judgment.”

Laura McMahon, Barrister -at-Law (representing Ms McLaughlin)

“This challenge was based on the belief that children should be treated equally by the State irrespective of the marital status of their parents.”