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Compensation to Relatives Act




Ordinances Nos. 17 of 1920, 7 of 1935, 16 of 1956, 37 of 1966,
Act No. 28 of 1971


[14th May, 1920.]

Short title

1. This Act may be cited as the Compensation to Relatives Act.


2. In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires-

"child" includes son and daughter and grandson and grand-daughter and stepson and stepdaughter, and includes also an illegitimate child;

"parent" includes father and mother and grandfather and grandmother and stepfather and stepmother.

Action to be maintainable where death is caused by neglect, etc.

3. Where the death of a person is caused by wrongful act, neglect or default, and the act, neglect or default is such as would (if death had not ensued) have entitled the party injured to maintain an action and recover damages in respect thereof, the person or persons or body of persons, incorporated or unincorporated, who would have been liable if death had not ensued shall be liable to an action for damages notwithstanding the death of the person injured, and although the death was caused under such circumstances as to amount in law to a crime.

Action to be for benefit of family

4. Every such action shall be for the benefit of the wife, husband, parent and child of the person whose death has been so caused.

To be brought in name of executor, etc.

5. Every such action shall be brought by and in the name of the executor or administrator of the deceased person, and the court may give to the parties respectively for whom and for whose benefit the action was brought such damages as are considered proportioned to the injury resulting from the death.
(Amended by 37 of 1966, s. 9.)

Appropriation of proceeds

6. The amount so recovered, after deducting the costs not recovered from the defendant, shall be divided amongst the before-mentioned parties in such shares as the court may determine.
(Amended by 37 of 1966, s. 9.)

Money paid into court may be paid in one sum

7. If the defendant is advised to pay money into court it shall be sufficient that he pays it in one sum to all persons entitled under this Act as a compensation for his wrongful act, neglect or default without specifying the shares into which it is to be divided by the court and if the said sum is not accepted, and an issue is taken by the plaintiff as to its sufficiency, and the court find the same sufficient, the defendant shall be entitled to judgment on that issue.
(Amended by 37 of 1966, s. 9.)

Only one action shall lie

8. Not more than one action shall lie for the same subject matter of complaint, and every such action shall be commenced within three years after the death of the person deceased. (Amended by 28 of 1971, s. 2.)

Plaintiff to deliver full particulars of claim made

9. In every such action the plaintiff on the record shall be required to deliver to the defendant or his barrister and solicitor, together with the statement of claim, full particulars of the person or persons for whom and on whose behalf the action is brought, and of the nature of the claim in respect of which damages are sought to be recovered.

Action may in certain cases be brought by persons beneficially interested

10.-(1) Where in any of the cases provided for by this Act it happens that there is no executor or administrator of the deceased person, or that there being such executor or administrator no action as hereinbefore mentioned is within six months after the death of the deceased person as hereinmentioned brought by and in the name of his executor or administrator, then such action may be brought by and in the name or names of all or of any of the persons, if more than one, for whose benefit such action would have been if it had been brought by and in the name of the executor or administrator.

(2) Every action so brought shall be for the benefit of the same person or persons and shall be subject to the same procedure as nearly as may be as if it were brought by and in the name of the executor or administrator.

Damages in respect of funeral expenses

11. In any action brought under the provisions of this Act damages may be awarded in respect of the funeral expenses of the deceased person if such expenses have been incurred by the parties for whose benefit the action is brought.
(7 of 1935, s. 3.)

Exclusion of certain payments in assessment of damages

12.-(1) In assessing damages in any action under the provisions of this Act, there shall not be taken into account-

(a) any sum paid or payable on the death of the deceased under any contract of assurance or insurance;

(b) any widow's or orphan's pension or allowance payable under any contributory pension scheme declared by the Minister, by notice in the Gazette, to be a scheme for the purpose of this paragraph.

(2) The provisions of this section shall bind the Crown in right of its Government in Fiji.
(Amended by 16 of 1956, s. 2.)

Controlled by Ministry of the Attorney-General


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