Scotland

Plan to reform wrongful death law

The Scottish government is publishing proposals on reforms to the law on damages for deaths caused by accidents and negligence.

Ministers are consulting on changes to how damages should be calculated for "wrongful deaths".

The current law on deaths caused by industrial accidents, industrial disease, road accidents and clinical negligence dates back 34 years.

The government said it wanted to modernise and simplify the law.

One of the main changes being proposed to the damages legislation is that a spouse's income should be ignored when calculating a payment.

The review of the legislation was prompted by the creation of a new act in 2007 designed to compensate the relatives of workers who had died from mesothelioma.

Thousands of Scottish shipyard workers are thought to have contracted that disease from breathing in asbestos fibres.

'Proper redress'

Community Safety Minister Fergus Ewing said: "I recognise that modernisation and simplification of the law of damages for wrongful death could help those who have the terrible misfortune to have lost a loved one.

"Our aim is to ensure that victims and their relatives have appropriate rights and the ability, without unnecessary difficulty, to secure proper redress in respect of personal injury and wrongful death.

"Our objective is to work with interested parties to develop a way forward which takes account of all relevant perspectives and to modernise appropriately the law of damages for wrongful death, in order to reflect the structures, values and expectations of 21st century Scotland."

The consultation process will run until 27 August.

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