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Lawyers Welcome High Court Ruling on Breach of Human Rights

Human Rights Act


Lawyers have welcomed the ruling from a High Court judge that to send British soldiers on patrol or into battle with defective equipment could breach their human rights.

The government is appealing against the court's decision but, in a test case over the death of Scottish soldier Pte Jason Smith in Iraq, Mr Justice Collins said human rights laws could apply to troops serving abroad.

In addition, he ruled that legal aid and access to military documents should be available to families of those killed in conflict.

Finding that service personnel were entitled to some legal protection "wherever they may be", the High Court ruled against the Ministry of Defence whose lawyers argued that it was "impossible" to give soldiers on active service "the benefits of the Human Rights Act."

Defence Secretary Des Browne also had his bid to ban the use of phrases like "serious failure" in verdicts rejected. This decision was fully supported by Diane Dernie, the mother of L/Bdr Ben Parkinson who said: "This shouldn't have even been up for discussion, it's common sense."

Andrew Tucker from Irwin Mitchell's Armed Forces Claim Team which is representing all the families at the forthcoming Coroner's Court Inquest into the RAF Nimrod Accident that happened in Afghanistan in Sep 2006 killing 14 Service personnel welcomed the decision by the Court. The team is also representing L/Bdr Ben Parkinson who lost both his legs as well as suffering a brain injury in a landmine explosion in Afghanistan.

Mr Tucker said: "This judgment could have important implications for Service personnel and their families. We will consider very carefully how it will impact on our military clients who have been injured or killed in Operational Theatres. We support any judicial decision that results in greater protection for British Armed Forces and assists with the investigation into military accidents."

Armed Forces Injury Claim

The team specialises in representing Military Personnel who are injured On or Off duty. Irwin Mitchell has a significant amount of knowledge and experience in dealing with the Ministry of Defence (MoD), their claims handling insurers and solicitors.

Irwin Mitchell also understands the unique demands of Service life and we work closely with a number of the military welfare branches and organisations including; SSAFA, Combat Stress, BLESMA, Defence Medical Welfare Services and a number of the Regimental Associations. Irwin Mitchell is also the appointed Legal Representative under PAX Personal Accident Insurance (Legal Expenses) for personal injury claims.