Anthony Metzer QC, sitting as a deputy High Court judge, heard the case of Witham v Hill Ltd  in February 2020. He had to consider whether Sarah, who looks after two foster children with special needs, had a case to claim for pecuniary loss following Neil's death, not least since the couple had previously decided that Neil would be the children's main carer and Sarah would return to work.
Under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976, the children (A and B) had no claim since they did not enjoy the same rights as natural children. Under the Act, children and step-children are considered dependants, but not foster children.
The judge's decision to award Sarah just under £930,000 in total meant he accepted Sarah's claim that she and her family had suffered a loss. Specifically, he found the dependency was the claimant’s (Sarah's) and was not an illegitimate ‘relabelling’ of A and B’s irrecoverable dependency. In this regard he accepted that even though A and B were involved in the dependency (as the care Neil would have provided was to them) it was nevertheless Sarah's loss.
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