Seward v The Vera Cruz: HL 1884

The House was asked to rule upon the nature of a fatal accident claim as established by the 1846 Act, Lord Campbell’s Act – was it such as to be within the jurisdiction of the Admiralty Division?
Held: Earl of Selbourne LC said: ‘Lord Campbell’s Act gives a new cause of action clearly . . because the action is given in substance not to the person representing in point of estate the deceased man, who would naturally represent him as to all his own rights of action which could survive him, but to his wife and children, no doubt suing in point of form in the name of the executor.’
He explained the maxim of construction ‘generalia specialibus non derogant’, saying: ‘Now if anything be certain it is this, that where there are general words in a later Act capable of reasonable and sensible application without extending them to subjects specially dealt with by earlier legislation, you are not to hold that earlier and special legislation indirectly repealed altered or derogated from merely by force of such general words, without any indication of a particular intention to so.’ ‘
Lord Blackburn said: ‘a totally new action is given against the person who would have been responsible to the deceased if the deceased had lived . . an action which . . is new in its species, new in its quality, new in its principle, in every way new . .’
Earl of Selbourne LC, Lord Blackburn
(1884) 10 AC 59
Fatal Accidents Act 1846
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedCox v Ergo Versicherung Ag and Another QBD 28-Oct-2011
The deceased died in a road traffic accident whilst serving in the Armed forces in Germany. The driver was insured under German law. The widow now claimed damages in England. She had entered a new relationship.
Held: The object of section 844 . .
CitedCox v Ergo Versicherung Ag SC 2-Apr-2014
The deceased army officer serving in Germany died while cycling when hit by a driver insured under German law. His widow, the claimant, being domiciled in England brought her action here, claiming for bereavement and loss of dependency. The Court . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 20 June 2021; Ref: scu.523693