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Injured soldiers’ families have permission to sue MoD

The Court of Appeal, recently made a crucial decision for the families of soldiers killed and seriously injured in combat, enabling them to claim compensation against the MoD.

The claims arise from attacks on Snatch Land Rovers that killed British soldiers Private Phillip Hewitt, Private Lee Ellis, and Lance Corporal Kirk Redpath, and a “friendly fire” incident in Iraq involving two Challenger tanks. One of the tanks fired on the other during the confusion of battle killing Corporal Stephen Allbutt, and injuring Troopers Daniel Twiddy and Andrew Julien.

The Legal Argument

The soldiers and their families were arguing that the MoD breached their duty of care to the soldiers by failing to provide them with appropriate equipment, namely the Snatch Land Rovers and available technology to protect them against friendly fire; and for failing to provide adequate vehicle recognition training.

The MoD tried to stop the claims being made. One of their arguments was that they were protected by a principle known as “combat immunity”. This principle essentially excludes members of the armed forces and the Government from personal injury claims against them which arose in combat situations or “active operations”.

The Court’s Decision

“Combat immunity” is an important principle which correctly applies to many situations in which service personnel are sadly injured or lose their life on the battlefield. However, the Court decided in these cases, that choices relating to the provision of equipment and training were made well before the soldiers entered into the combat situation and they are therefore entitled to make a claim for compensation.

Unless settled out of Court, the cases will now proceed to a final hearing where the Court will have to decide whether the MoD had failed to adhere to their obligations as employers and if so, whether this had any impact on the eventual outcome.

How this decision affects you

The decision will enable other injured soldiers and their families to make similar claims for compensation if they believe that they were injured or killed as a result of poor equipment and/or a lack of training, even when this occurred during active operations.

How we can help

Harris Fowler are proud to support our soldiers and have a specialist Military Injury Team who have acted in compensation claims on behalf of many military personnel and are dedicated to helping injured soldiers rebuild their lives.

If you or a family member would like free expert advice then contact us on 0800 213214 or complete our simple on line enquiry form to discuss claiming compensation.