Victory For Soldiers In Court of Appeal Decision

Specialist Lawyers Say Ruling Will Help Injured Soldiers Access Rehabilitation And Support

23.10.2012

Leading serious injury lawyers representing armed forces personnel and the families of those killed in action say a Court of Appeal decision announced Friday 19 October will enable injured soldiers to claim for vital rehabilitation and support after acts of negligence.

The cases concern three men killed as their Land Rovers were attacked and a soldier who died in friendly fire. Three judges in the Court of Appeal said that families could pursue damages claims against the Government on grounds of negligence.

Zoe Sutton, a specialist serious injury lawyer who represents armed forces personnel and families of those killed in action, said: “This is a very significant decision which means the families of those killed in warzones or soldiers who are injured on the front line because of acts of negligence can now seek justice from the MoD.

“We have represented many soldiers injured in war zones who often face years of physical recovery and rehabilitation, not to mention the psychological trauma which can have a massive long-lasting impact. In many cases their injuries can be so severe that they cannot return to action and can find themselves without a job further down the line.

“This ruling means that soldiers killed or injured on the front line as a result of negligence, such as friendly fire or a failure to provide the appropriate protective equipment, may be able to claim for support and rehabilitation and in some circumstances financial security for their families.”

A previous High Court ruling in June 2011 said the relatives of victims of an attack on a Land Rover in Iraq could pursue claims on negligence grounds - but not under human rights legislation.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) had appealed the decision ruling on negligence claims and the relatives had challenged the ruling on human rights. The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal from the MoD and also upheld the ruling on Human Rights.

It means that if troops suffer injury because they are not provided with the correct equipment they may be able to bring a claim against the MoD where the MoD is in breach of a duty of care.