Soldiers' Human Rights Ruling

The UK's most senior judges are to decide whether relatives of soldiers killed fighting Iraq can make damages claims against the Government using human rights legislation.

Latest ITV News reports

Widow of soldier killed in Iraq "every employer has a duty of care, the MoD should be no different"

Debi the widow of Corporal Stephen Allbutt from Stoke-on-Trent who was killed in Iraq learned this morning from the court of appeal that she and others can continue on with their legal battle to sue the Government for the way their relatives were killed.

The families are claiming the Ministry of Defence were negligent in failing to provide equipment that could have saved lives.

The duty of care owed by the Ministry of Defence "has been recognised"

The Ministry of Defence has failed in its attempts to get a negligence claim thrown out of court.

Families of Private Phillip Hewett and Corporal Stephen Allbutt claim that the MoD didn't deliver a duty of care.

In his judgment today, Lord Neuberger described the MoD’s arguments as ‘fatally flawed’ and agreed that the claims should continue.

“The duty of care owed by the MoD, as employer, to the members of the armed forces, as employees, does exist and has been recognised, without demur, by the courts. It includes a duty to provide safe systems of work and safe equipment, as I have demonstrated. There was no suggestion that the courts were ill-equipped to deal with such issues, or that the resolution of the claims would be detrimental to the troops. The question whether a duty of care owed by the MoD to armed forces should be recognised has long since been answered. There is no basis for asking it in the instant appeals”

– Lord Neuberger speaking today

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Families await verdict over compensation

The families of Private Phillip Hewett and Corporal Stephen Allbutt, from Staffordshire, are waiting to hear today whether they can sue the Government for compensation over the deaths of the two soldiers.

“We await the verdict having fought for many years to get these claims to Court. We maintain that the MOD’s position has been morally and legally indefensible, as they owe a duty of care to those who fight on behalf of this Country.

“British troops should at the very least have adequate equipment and training, ranging from the very basic such as a GPS devices, to sophisticated satellite tracker systems, which the Americans had available to them."

– ?Shubhaa Srinivasan a Partner with law firm Leigh Day & Co who is representing the family of Cpl Allbutt and the surviving servicemen

Decisions on whether families can sue the Government for compensation

Two separate decisions will be made on whether the families of troops killed in battle in Iraq can sue the Government for compensation.

Relatives of Private Phillip Hewett and Corporal Stephen Allbutt, both from Staffordshire, claim that their equipment wasn't right and that the MOD didn't deliver a duty of care.

The MOD, however, says it doesn't owe a duty of care, and that issues around resources should be left to the Government not the courts.

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Soldiers' families to return to the Court of Appeal

Court of Appeal, London
Court of Appeal, London Credit: ITV Central

The families of Midlands soldiers killed in Iraq will return to the Court of Appeal today. They're seeking the right to claim compensation for their deaths, arguing the men were failed by the Ministry of Defence by not being given the correct equipment.

You can read more about the start of this case here: http://www.itv.com/news/central/story/2012-06-25/military-compensation/