UK Government Sued by Bereaved Families for Loss of Lives to COVID-19

uk government sued by bereaved families for loss of lives to covid 19

uk government sued by bereaved families for loss of lives to covid 19

The UK government is facing legal action by bereaved families of people who died in care homes and hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic. The cases concern 30 deaths during the initial days of the COVID-19 pandemic. The legal claims issued against the Health Secretary, individual care homes, and hospital trusts, are before the High Court. 

In the lawsuits, the bereaved relatives say the State failed to protect them under the Human Rights Act, and have issued legal claims for damages for loss of life, personal injuries, pain and suffering, anxiety, distress and feelings of injustice. Lawyers highlighted that the State failed to publish procedures, appropriate guidance, policies, and rules to be applied by operators of care homes, healthcare settings, and hospitals. 

Emma Jones, Leigh Day Solicitors partner, said they had hoped to try to progress their arguments without being forced to start legal action. “But unfortunately not all of the defendants would agree to extending the deadline for formally launching the cases. As a result, we have taken the necessary step of issuing these claims to protect the positions of our clients and the loved ones they have lost. You cannot underestimate the impact of the tragic loss of life, losing a loved one in such harrowing circumstances, has had on our clients.” 

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They hope a full and thorough investigation will look into the deaths, and might help the clients feel they have obtained justice for their loved ones. “We just want some truthful answers and some honesty really from the Government for once. I think they’ve got to be accountable in how they handled the whole situation,” Jones said. 

Beatrice Morgan, a solicitor, said the clients believe the guidance issued by the Health Secretary in the early weeks of the pandemic led to thousands of unnecessary deaths. And many strongly feel the guidance put their loved ones at an avoidable risk of harm. 

These legal claims come after the High Court ruled in 2022 that Government policies on discharging hospital patients into care homes at the start of the pandemic were unlawful. Families argue their rights were breached through the State’s failure to comply with its obligations to protect the right to life, respect the right to private and family life, and protect the right not to be discriminated against.

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