Sheffield mum fails to overturn ‘outdated’ law

Legal battle: Laurie Swift.
Legal battle: Laurie Swift.
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A MUM who was denied compensation after her partner was killed in a tragic workplace accident has lost a legal challenge at the Court of Appeal.

Laurie Swift, aged 30, was refused a £400,000 payout over her partner Alan Winters’ death because the couple were not married and had not been living together for two years before he died.

Alan was 28 when he was crushed to death at the Davy Markham factory in Darnall, Sheffield, nearly five years ago.

He had just moved into a new house in Littledale with pregnant Laurie when the accident happened.

Six weeks after his death their son Alan Jnr was born, but Laurie has been denied compensation because of a law which bans payouts for unmarried couples or those who have not lived together for two years.

In court, Laurie’s lawyers argued the law was outdated and should be changed.

But Lord Justice John Dyson dismissed the case, saying it was for Parliament - not the courts - to embrace social and economic change.

“There is no obviously right answer,” he said. “It may be many would say the law needs changing. But the choice made by Parliament was not without reasonable foundation and was one which it was entitled to make.”

Alan Jnr, now four, received around £105,000 in damages for the loss of his father. Laurie would have received £400,000.

Laurie’s solicitor Simon Allen said the decision was ‘terribly disappointing’.

“We must stop treating couples who cohabit as second-class citizens,” he said. “Laurie’s case is relevant to millions of young people in the country today and we will be seeking leave to take this to the Supreme Court.”