Veterans lose MoD damages claim bid

 

Hundreds of ex-servicemen who say they were made ill as a result of being exposed to radiation during British nuclear weapons tests in the 1950s have lost their Supreme Court bid to be able to launch damages claims against the Ministry of Defence.

More than 1,000 veterans want compensation and have been battling for permission to launch damages claims for some two years.

Although today's judgment blocks most claims, a certain number can still proceed because of an earlier legal ruling.

The veterans took their fight to the Supreme Court - the highest court in the UK - in November after battles in the High Court and the Court of Appeal.

In 2009, 10 "lead" claimants won the first round of the veterans' battle when a High Court judge said claims could go ahead.

But the MoD appealed and, in 2010, a Court of Appeal ruling blocked nine of the 10 lead claims when judges said they were "statute-barred" because they had been made too late.

A challenge by the veterans against that Court of Appeal decision was rejected today by Supreme Court justices by a four-to-three majority.

Veterans blame ill-health - including cancer, skin defects and fertility problems - on their involvement in British nuclear tests in Australia, on Christmas Island and in the Pacific Ocean between 1952 and 1958.

The MoD acknowledges a "debt of gratitude" but denies negligence.

Lord Wilson, one of the judges who rejected the appeal, ruled that the actions had "no real prospect of success".

Lord Wilson said, after reading out a summary of the court's decision: "Putting aside the law for one moment, all seven members of the court would wish to record their personal sympathy for the veterans."

He said: "It must be bad enough for the nine veterans, and the other claimants, to learn that they have lost this final round, but to learn that they have lost by the narrowest possible margin must make it even worse."

The panel was made up of Supreme Court president Lord Phillips, Lord Walker, Lady Hale, Lord Brown, Lord Mance, Lord Kerr and Lord Wilson.

Lawyers said they were calculating how many veterans, or their families, would still be able to launch damages claims in the High Court and estimated that the number could still be in the hundreds.

They said the fight for "justice" would go on and urged the Government to set up a compensation scheme.

Veterans' families said they were disappointed with the ruling and called on ministers to acknowledge that servicemen had been "put at risk" and should be compensated.

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
i100
News
Prince Harry is clearing enjoying the Commonwealth Games judging by this photo
people(a real one this time)
News
Richard Norris in GQ
mediaGQ features photo shoot with man who underwent full face transplant
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Your picture is everything in the shallow world of online dating
i100
Life and Style
Attractive women on the Internet: not a myth
techOkCupid boasts about Facebook-style experiments on users
Sport
Van Gaal said that his challenge in taking over Bobby Robson's Barcelona team in 1993 has been easier than the task of resurrecting the current United side
football
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Content Manager - Central London

£35000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Content Manager - Central...

HR Business Partner - Banking Finance - Brentwood - £45K

£45000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: ** HR Business Partner - Senior H...

PA / Team Secretary - Wimbledon

£28000 - £32000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: PA / Team Secretary - Mat...

Mechanical Lead

£65000 - £75000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Mechanical L...

Day In a Page

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on