Armed Forces Experts Welcome Combat Immunity Ruling

Judgement 'A Positive Step' For Servicemen With Hearing Problems

06.07.2011

Specialists at Irwin Mitchell have welcomed a court ruling which means that armed forces personnel who have suffered hearing loss problems as a result of being given inadequate equipment are a step closer to gaining justice.

In a recent case, Mr Justice Owen, sitting in the High Court, decided that combat immunity should not be a complete defence to claims in relation to problems with or the unsuitability of equipment.

While the decision was related to case linked to the standard or armoured vehicles and GPS systems, armed forces injury specialists at Irwin Mitchell have revealed the ruling is a very positive one for the growing number of servicemen it represents who have complained of hearing problems as a result of not being given proper protection.

The team has seen the number of enquiries it received on such issues doubled in the past 12 months.

David Johnston-Keay, a hearing loss specialist at Irwin Mitchell, said: “This ruling is a great result for those who have approached us over noise-induced deafness problems while serving in Afghanistan.

“The move means that combat immunity is not a defence in relation to such claims and, while courts will still be keen to test all of the issues, it is a positive step towards securing justice for those who feel let down by the Ministry of Defence.

“People who serve their country are prepared to put their lives on the line, but they should not be injured as a result of not being given even basic protection such as earplugs.

“We now receive around 10 new enquiries a month on this issue and it is simply unacceptable.

“Our only hope is that this ruling, and our continuing campaign for improvements in safety standards on the issue, will ensure lessons are learnt on this terrible and preventable issue.”