Barrister: Cyrus Katrak

Review of the decision in Mosson v Spousal (London) Ltd


Cyrus Katrak summarises the decision in Mosson v Spousal (London) Ltd [2016] EWHC 53 (QB), [2016] WLR(D) 41 in the context of a Fatal Accidents Claim.

Many items fell to be decided by the trail Judge, Mr. Justice Garnham, but of particular interest to practitioners:

  • The costs of the wake, funeral attire and the purchase of a memorial bench were refused following Knauer v Ministry of Justice [2014] EWHC 2553 (QB) and Gammell v Wilson [1982] AC 27;
    • As the expenses claimed had to be be “reasonable in all circumstances” it was not reasonable to claim for the cost of the memorial bench or for clothing to be worn at the funeral [The cost of mourning clothes had been disallowed in Gammell v Wilson at first instance].
    • In Gammell v Wilson the Court of Appeal had also drawn a distinction between a headstone which marks the grave and was a legitimate funeral expense and a memorial which was not. The Judge therefore considered that a memorial bench was not a legitimate funeral expense.
  • A claim for probate was also refused as there was no reference to probate costs in the 1934 Act.
  • Loss of intangible services to reflect “..the additional value and convenience in having someone who is willing and able to provide these services out of love and affection rather than bringing in outside help and contractors” was refused. The Judge considered that this part of the claim was already covered by bereavement damages and a loss of service claim (which he had allowed) and that accordingly this was not a proper claim in law.

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