Defence Secretary: 'Very concerned at the wider implications of this judgment'

The Defence Secretary has said that he is 'concerned about the wider implications' of the Supreme Court ruling which has allowed families of servicemen killed in Iraq to sue the Government for damages.

“Our thoughts remain with those who were injured and the families of those who sadly lost their lives. The most important priority is the protection of our troops and since this litigation started a wide range of protected vehicles including Mastiff, Ridgeback, Husky, Wolfhound, Jackal and Foxhound, have been available to commanders to match the most appropriate available vehicle to specific tasks based on the assessment of the operational risk.

"I welcome the fact that the Court has upheld the principle of the doctrine of combat immunity, albeit suggesting that it should be interpreted narrowly.

"However, I am very concerned at the wider implications of this judgment, which could ultimately make it more difficult for our troops to carry out operations and potentially throws open a wide range of military decisions to the uncertainty of litigation.

"We will continue to make this point in future legal proceedings as it can't be right that troops on operations have to put the ECHR ahead of what is operationally vital to protect our national security.”

– Defence Secretary Philip Hammond

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Soldiers' families 'can sue MoD'

The Supreme Court has ruled that relatives of three soldiers killed in Iraq can sue the MoD for damages. The families say it failed to provide them sufficient protection after they were killed by roadside bombs while in lightly armoured Land Rovers.