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Report No. 111

6.3. Tangible and intangible interests.-

The interest of the survivor in the continuance of the life of the person dying may be material, or intangible, or both. A material interest consists in-(i) the present enjoyment of the pecuniary benefits or material advantages having a value in money, which are brought to an end by the death of the person dying, or (ii) in a reasonable expectation of the enjoyment of such benefits or advantages. An intangible interest in the continuance of life consists in the natural ties of relationship or close association with a particular person and the moral comfort and companionship arising thereout.1 If compensation is to be measured with reference to the interest affected, and is to be fair and just compensation in money for the destruction of that interest, then it should include compensation for the intangible interest as well as for a tangible interest. It should include a solatium also.2

1. Owen Dixon Survival of Causes of Action, (1943) 1 Univ. Queensland L.J. 1, reproduced in The Jesting Pilate, 238, 243.

2. Owen Dixon Survival of Causes of Action, (1948) 1 Univ. Queensland L.J. 1, reproduced in The Jesting Pilate, 238, 243.

6.4. Having taken these aspects into consideration, we recommend that section 1A, third paragraph, should be widened so as to cover damages for loss of the nature indicated above.1-2

Incidentally, it may be mentioned here that in England, by a recent amendment of the Fatal Accidents Act, 1976, provision has been made allowing the parents and spouse of the deceased to claim compensation, specifically for "bereavement", subject to a maximum.3

The common law did not allow damages for bereavement.4

1. Para. 6.3, supra.

2. Appendix 1, clause 6(4).

3. Section 1A, Fatal Accidents Act, 1976, as amended in 1982.

4. Salmond and Heuston Torts, (1981), p. 548, and cases cited therein.



The Fatal Accidents Act, 1855 Back




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