Ruling on soldiers' right to life

Britain's highest court is to debate whether soldiers in battle have the right to life, it was reported tonight.

The Supreme Court will investigate circumstances surrounding the death of Private Phillip Hewett in Iraq in July 2005 and examine whether troops in war zones are covered by Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects the right to life, The Independent said.

Private Hewett's mother Sue Smith has fought for justice since the 21-year-old was blown up with two colleagues from the Staffordshire Regiment in a roadside bomb attack on their armoured Snatch Land Rover.

In October the lower Court of Appeal ruled that relatives of soldiers who had been killed in action could pursue claims on negligence grounds - but not make damages claims under human rights legislation.

The judges accepted the Government's assertion that the battlefield was beyond the reach of litigation but the families' lawyers said the fight would go on and they would take the human rights battle to the Supreme Court.