No Human Rights For UK Soldiers

Supreme Court Ruling On UK Troops Right To Life


UK troops do not have the right to life while at war, according to the Supreme Court.

It has quashed rulings by the High Court and Court of Appeal which said that human rights law protected soldiers on the battlefield.

Six of the nine justices at the Supreme Court overturned the finding in a ruling about the death of Territorial Army Private Jason Smith in Iraq.

The court however unanimously rejected an MoD appeal that a new inquest into Pte Smith's death need not satisfy right to life provisions under the Human Rights Act.

Lord Rodger, who allowed the appeal over jurisdiction, said: "Any suggestion that the death of a soldier in combat conditions points to some breach by the United Kingdom of his Article 2 right to life is not only to mistake but, much worse, to devalue what our soldiers do."

British Army soldiers were not only vulnerable to death or injury - similar to other jobs - but they also worked in situations where people try to kill them, he said.

"While steps can be taken, by training and by providing suitable armour, to give our troops some measure of protection against these hostile attacks, that protection can never be complete. Deaths and injuries are inevitable," he added.

Andrew Tucker, head of Irwin Mitchell's Armed Forces Claims Team commented, " The decision raises interesting and important issues regarding the level of protection British Armed Forces receive under the Human Rights Act while on deployment. Obviously working in Operational Theatres such as Afghanistan can be dangerous with a high level of risk, it is therefore essential that our troops are properly trained and given the right equipment when deployed."