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MoD case criticised by judge

A JUDGE hearing the legal appeal made by the Ministry of Defence against large compensation awards made to former servicewomen routinely dismissed for becoming pregnant, said yesterday his 'hands were tied' by the way the MoD had conducted the case.

The judgment of Mr Justice Morison, to be delivered later this month, was originally expected to provide the legal benchmark for future cases. However, the judge's 'tied hands' comment as the appeals tribunal for seven test cases ended in London, was effectively a veiled criticism of the way the MoD had chosen to present the appeal.

Although Mr Justice Morison's judgment will address specific aspects of compensation payments, the principle of how compensation levels are worked out is likely to require further legal argument.

In 1991 the MoD accepted liability to pay compensation to all pregnant women discharged between 1978 and 1990. After challenges to the European Court last year, compensation levels broke through the six-figure mark.