MoD wins first round of compensation battle

The Ministry of Defence won a partial legal victory yesterday in its bid to cut compensation payments made to two injured servicemen.

The Court of Appeal ruled that the awards made to Light Dragoon Anthony Duncan and Royal Marine Matthew McWilliams need to be reassessed, opening the possibility of a reduction in the amounts they receive.

Allowing the Government's case for a more restrictive interpretation of the assessment procedure, Lord Justice Carnwath said a tribunal wrongly applied two elements of the formula which calculated the soldiers' awards.

Cpl Duncan was given £9,250, which was increased to £46,000, and Marine McWilliams was awarded £8,250, which rose to £28,750. The 27-year-old corporal was shot in Iraq in 2005 and after two years of rehabilitation fought in Afghanistan for six months from April. Marine McWilliams, 24, fractured his thigh in training in 2005. Ministers, who have begun a review of the compensation system, made the challenge because of concerns that the cases could set a precedent which would cost taxpayers millions of pounds in extra payments.

* One of the two Afghans on a UN-backed commission looking into vote fraud in the August presidential election resigned yesterday, citing interference by foreigners. Maulavi Mustafa Barakzai alleged that the three foreigners on the panel – one American, one Canadian and one Dutch national – were "making all decisions on their own" without consultation. The complaints commission rejected the allegation. Mr Barakzai "was an integral part of the commission and took part equally in all commissioner meetings," the group said. It said the resignation" will not distract" it from its investigations.

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