Six-year-old boy wins right to sue over father’s death

A six-year-old boy has won the right to seek damages from a dive charter company over the death of his father.

Lex Warner, from Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, died in 2012 during a diving expedition near Cape Wrath in Scotland.

His widow Debbie Warner sought damages from Orkney-based Scapa Flow Charters (SFC), but it was found the legal action was time-barred.

The Supreme Court in London has now ruled that her claim on behalf of her son Vincent should be allowed to proceed.

Mr Warner was preparing to dive from the MV Jean Elaine, a boat hired from SFC, when he fell on the deck.

He was helped to his feet and continued with the dive, however he got into trouble while submerged and could not be revived when helped back onboard.

Mrs Warner sought damages on behalf of herself and her son in 2015, claiming her husband’s death was the result of SFC’s negligence.

The company lodged a defence that the case was time-barred under the Athens Convention, which sets out laws on action for damages relating to the carriage of passengers at sea.

The Court of Session in Edinburgh ruled in favour of the firm, however it was decided on appeal that Vincent’s claim should be allowed to proceed.

The Supreme Court has upheld that ruling after dismissing an appeal from SFC.

Judge Lord Hodge wrote: “In agreement with the Inner House, I conclude that Mrs Warner’s claim as Vincent’s guardian is not time barred by the Athens Convention.”