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Belfast High Court rules Widowed Parent’s Allowance applies to unmarried mother

Law Centre (NI) welcomes this week's ruling in favour of an unmarried mother who launched legal action over her inability to access a widowed parent's allowance.

Citizens Advice had applied to Belfast High Court for judicial review on behalf of a client whose children were denied bereavement benefits following the death of her partner of 23 years.

The Court ruled that the client had no claim to the lump sum bereavement benefit but that she should have access to a £112.55 weekly payment, conferred due to parentage.

In his judgment, Mr Justice Treacy said: "Even allowing for the State's margin of appreciation, I do not consider that the exclusion of the applicant from widowed parent's allowance on the grounds of her marital status can be justified.

"Indeed, it may seem somewhat strange to rely, as a justification for the restriction, on the contention that it promotes the institution of marriage and civil partnership when parents, whatever the status of the relationship, owe the same financial or legal duties towards their children.”

The Law Centre congratulates Citizens Advice on this significant decision with potential UK-wide implications.

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