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12 March 2021 | Comment | Article by Cari Sowden-Taylor

Supporting the Sudden Bereavement Charter to help those in need

Hugh James welcomes the launch of the Sudden Bereavement Charter – which was launched on 11 March and has been signed by 17 charities, academics, faith leaders and healthcare professionals.

The Charter aims to bring about much needed access to specialist support for suddenly bereaved individuals and families.

Deborah Johnson, a Consultant Lawyer with Hugh James, and Chair of Brake the Road Safety Charity which runs Sudden says the Charter does not come soon enough.

“Sudden’s analysis of unexpected deaths between March 2020 and March 2021 shows the tragic loss of life that has occurred through unexpected death. Almost a million people in the UK have been coping with the devastating effects of an unexpected bereavement in that period.

There is an urgent need for access to specialist support to help those suddenly bereaved and reduce the cost to society and the economy which could be into the billions. This includes the cost of dealing with serious mental health conditions that are more likely to develop without early care and support, such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.”

The Charter calls for support to help people cope with their reactions to the death of a family member, as well as addressing access to practical, medical, and financial support and time off work. It also highlights the need for information to be given to bereaved people so they can understand the complex legal procedures that need to be followed after someone has died. This is regardless of whether someone has died of an immediate fatal or life-limiting illness or an event such as a road crash, homicide, suicide, or other disaster.

Cari Sowden-Taylor, Hugh James Partner in the Catastrophic Injury team echoes Deborah’s thoughts:

“My colleagues and I at Hugh James have worked with seriously injured and bereaved people for many years and we’re passionate about making a difference and helping people rebuild their lives after tragedy has struck. It’s great to see charities that we partner with taking the lead to effect change by signing this Charter, including Brake, the UK Sepsis Trust and RoadPeace. We will assist them in their efforts to bring about proper support in any way we can.”

If you have been affected by a sudden bereavement and need advice following the death of a loved one, the specialist team at Hugh James may be able to help. For a free no obligation chat, please contact us.

Author bio

Cari Sowden-Taylor


Cari is a Partner and Joint Head of the National Serious Injury Team, and specialises in representing adult and child claimants who have sustained life changing injuries such as traumatic brain injuries, spinal injuries, limb loss and polytrauma following road traffic collisions, injuries at work and assaults.

Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.


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