Mark Harper yesterday spoke with Sarah Montague on BBC Radio4’s The World at One to discuss the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling that to deny a widow bereavement benefits because she and her partner of 23 years were unmarried was discriminatory and a breach of human rights.
Siobhan McLaughlin had four children with John Adams, but despite living with him for two decades was denied a £2,000 lump-sum bereavement payment after his death in 2014.
The Supreme Court justices ruled that this was incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights — article 14, which protects against discrimination, and article 8, which protects a person’s family life.
“This is a critical step towards ending the discriminatory treatment of cohabiting couples.” said Mark. “It’s a good example of how the Human Rights Act can be used to strike down legislation which is unfair.”
Listen to Mark Harper on BBC Radio4 here