Siobhan McLaughlins case attracts further Parliamentary discussion

12 April 2019

This week Siobhan McLaughlin’s case has received attention on 2 separate occasions.

On 8th April, Frank Field MP, wrote to the recently appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary for Family Support, Housing and Child Maintenance, asking for an update on whether the government had considered the judgment, some 7 months on. In his letter, the Right Honourable Frank Field points out that the current system means that bereaved children are excluded from support simply because their parents were not married. He suggests that the Government might consider basing eligibility on the children rather than parents – an approach which is common in many European countries. 

On 9th April, the issue was raised by Lord Polak at the House of Lords. Baroness Thomas of Winchester suggested that action should now be taken following the judgment whilst Baroness Sherlock feared that the government has lost any sense of urgency in addressing it. Baroness Stedman Scott agreed to go back to the Department for an update.

Siobhan McLaughlin was represented in her case by our Laura Banks who comments:-

“Whilst we are pleased that this profound injustice continues to gain rightful attention at parliamentary level, it is now a growing concern that the Government has failed to respond. Is it now more than 7 months since the Supreme Court clearly held that to exclude children in these circumstances from bereavement benefits was unlawfully discriminatory, yet the government continues to act unlawfully and it is bereaved children who are suffering the consequences.

One wonders how many more children will suffer before the government will finally put an end to this archaic policy and comply with the law. An estimated 2,000 children per year are turned away from support on the basis of their parents’ marital status, so for each and every month the government ignores this, hundreds of bereaved children lose out. We consider it to be shameful, that the government continues to discriminate against children in this way, despite a Supreme Court decision confirming that it is unlawful. We are hopeful that they will put this right, without further delay, but would urge any families who are continuing to be discriminated against to seek legal advice immediately.”

For advice on any bereavement benefit issue, contact Laura Banks on 02890243901 or email