MoD ‘asks court to block compensation claims’

  • Posted

Posted 11/05/2011

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has asked the high court to block compensation claims from the families of four soldiers who died in Iraq.

Relatives of Private Lee Ellis, Lance Corporal Kirk Redpath, Corporal Stephen Allbutt and Private Phillip Hewett, who were killed in separate incidents, allege the army failed to provide them with essential equipment, the BBC reports.

They claim that had adequate protective measures been fitted to their vehicles, their deaths could have been avoided.

However, the MoD has argued that such equipment was not available and asked for the claims to be “struck out” as complex decisions about military operations should not be made by judges.

Lawyers for relatives of the solders have urged the court not to block the compensation bid, as it raises serious legal questions about the duty of care the MoD has to its personnel in war zones.

Another soldier to claim against the MoD recently is Sergeant Rick Clements, who is contesting a cap on compensation awards of £575,000 after he lost both of his legs in a landmine explosion.

Simon Davis, a partner in Ashtons Legal’s personal injury team, commented: “It may surprise people to know that members of the Armed Forces can sue the Ministry of Defence for damages for personal injury even in a war zone. This has been the case since the Crown Proceedings (Armed Forces) Act 1987.

“The families of the soldiers suing here have paid the highest price for those soldiers’ service to the country and it has to be right that any shortcomings in provision of equipment should be reviewed by the Court in the absence of any admission.

“It is difficult to see how the Ministry of Defence can be held to account in any other way. We would not want to see a situation in which the Ministry of Defence can be their own judge of the degree to which they are responsible to those for whom they are responsible and of whom they ask so much.”


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