Friday, July 1, 2011

Judge blocks compensation bid for families of soldiers killed in Iraq as 'they were outside Human Rights jurisdiction area' - 1st July 2011

Attempts to seek compensation from the Government by the families of four soldiers killed in Iraq have today been blocked by a High Court judge.

However, in an unusual twist, the judge allowed a separate negligence claim brought on behalf of the 10-year-old child of one of the dead soldiers - which has been hailed as a landmark ruling by lawyers.

Relatives of the four soldiers said their human rights were infringed because the Ministry of Defence (MoD) failed to provide armoured vehicles or equipment which could have saved lives and should pay compensation.

But MoD lawyers said decisions about battlefield equipment are for politicians and military commanders and asked the High Court to stop compensation claims going forward.

Mr Justice Owen ruled in favour of the MoD today after hearing arguments from all sides during a three-day hearing in London in May.

However, he upheld a claim for damages brought on behalf of Private Lee Ellis's 10-year-old daughter Courtney because she could claim she had lost the person who provided for her financially.

The judge heard that compensation claims had been made following an incident in which a British Challenger tank opened fire on another British Challenger tank after an officer became 'disorientated', and incidents in which soldiers died after Snatch Land Rovers hit improvised bombs.

Corporal Stephen Allbutt, 35, of Sneyd Green, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, was killed by 'friendly fire' in March 2003 after his Challenger 2 tank was hit by another Challenger 2 tank. Read More