Lloyd v Powell Duffryn Steam Coal Co, Ltd: HL 6 Apr 1914

Frank Whittall was a miner and was killed by an accident arising out of and in the course of his employment by the respondents. Thomas Lloyd was the illegitimate son of Alice Lloyd by Frank Whittall, born seven months after the latter’s death. At the arbitration Alice Lloyd gave evidence, objected to by the respondents but admitted and accepted by the arbitrator, that Whittall shortly before his death promised to marry her before the child was born. William Jones and Matilda Evans, whose evidence was similarly objected to and accepted, also testified to Whittall’s intention to marry Alice Lloyd.
Being satisfied by this evidence that Whittall had intended to marry Alice Lloyd before the birth of the child, and that at the time of Whittall’s death Thomas Lloyd was wholly dependent on his earnings, the arbitrator made an award for pounds 213 and costs.
The Court of Appeal held that the arbitrator was wrong in deciding that Thomas Lloyd was a dependant of Whittall within the meaning of the Workmen’s Compensation Act 1906, and in admitting the evidence of Alice Lloyd, William Jones, and Matilda Evans.
Held: Where a claim was made on behalf of the posthumous illegitimate child of a workman who was killed by an accident in the course of his employment, held that (a) statements made by the workman to the effect that the child was his and that he would marry the mother before the child was born are evidence of paternity and dependence; ( b) the County Court Judge cannot on a claim based on partial dependence award compensation based on total dependence.
Opinion per Lord Shaw that the fact of dependency, whether in the case of legitimate or illegitimate children, does not necessarily rest on proving a promise of support by the father.


Earl Loreburn, Lords Atkinson, Shaw, and Moulton


[1914] UKHL 631, 52 SLR 631




Workmen’s Compensation Act 1906


England and Wales

Personal Injury, Health and Safety

Updated: 26 April 2022; Ref: scu.620714