MoD court battle

Relatives of soldiers killed in Iraq will today ask the UK's senior judges to rule that they can bring damages claims against the Government, under the human rights legislation. Some of the families are from the Midlands.

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Supreme Court hears soldiers' families damages bid

Relatives of soldiers killed fighting in Iraq today began the latest phase of their fight for the right to launch damages claims against the Government.

Families want to sue for negligence and to make claims under human rights legislation.

The Supreme Court in Westminster, central London. Credit: Press Association

The Supreme Court began hearing arguments from lawyers representing relatives and counter-arguments from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) at a hearing in London.

Judges in the Court of Appeal and in the High Court have already considered the issues.

In October 2012, appeal judges said relatives could bring negligence claims but not claims under human rights legislation

In June 2011, a High Court judge had come to the same conclusions.

A panel of seven Supreme Court justices is expected to analyse arguments over the next four days.

Lawyers today began by outlining arguments relating to human rights legislation and are due to debate negligence issues later in the week.

Justices are expected to reserve judgment and deliver a ruling later in the year.

If given the go-ahead by the Supreme Court, relatives would be entitled to launch damages claims in the High Court.

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Widow: The MoD has a 'duty of care' to employees

Debi Allbutt has spent ten years trying to hold the MoD to account over the death of her husband, in March 2003.

Corporal Stephen Allbutt died in a “friendly fire” incident in Basra.

Debi felt there could have been better training for the use of equipment.

She said: "In every day life our employers have a duty of care to all their employees, so what makes the MoD any different?"

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Soldiers' relatives in court with damage claims against MoD

Relatives of soldiers killed in Iraq will today ask the UK's senior judges to rule that they can bring damages claims against the Government.

Lawyers have said the families want the right to sue for negligence to make claims under human rights legislation.

The hearing is expected to last four days Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

The hearing, which is expected to last four days at the Supreme Court, will analyse arguments from lawyers representing relatives and counter-arguments from the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

Relatives say the MoD failed to provide armoured vehicles or equipment which could have saved lives, and should pay compensation.

But the MoD says decisions about battlefield equipment are for politicians and military commanders.