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Report No. 111

7.8. Debate in House of Lords.-

It may be mentioned that when the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill (as introduced) was under debate in the House of Lords, very strong views were expressed against treating the prospects of re-marriage as relevant to the assessment of compensation. The Bill as it then stood presumably allowed the court to take into account her actual re-marriage. The most vociferous objection was that of Baroness Sumerskill, and it may be of interest to quote one passage from her speech1:-

"Finally, I say that it is lamentable that noble Lords by this Amendment should seem to perpetuate in our courts this crude assessment of the value of a woman, oblivious to the mental stress to which she is subjected. Again, I should like to emphasise that the widow should be regarded as having been the working partner of her late husband for whom she has worked in the home, reared the children and has thus enabled him to earn his wage or salary and to improve his skills. As I said on Second Reading, that was just one phase of her life, a phase which has had a tragic ending. Her financial compensation should bear no relationship to the next phase, whether she marries or remains single."

1. Baronneses Summerskill in (1971) Vol. 318, House of Lords Debates, Col. 539-540 (6th May, 1971).

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