Combat immunity plans a retrograde step – Ministry of Defence acting like it is above the law

I am totally against proposals by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to scrap the legal duty of care it owes to service personnel in the course of combat.

Under the proposed scheme, personnel would no longer be able to sue the MoD for negligence. Compensation would instead be awarded by an MoD-appointed assessor.  The MoD said the proposals, which are being consulted on until next week, would lead to “better compensation”.

The MoD is acting like it is above the law.

It is trying to remove the duty of care it owes to servicemen and women and replace it with its own idea of a pension akin to a court compensation award. This is ludicrous – in my 25 years of dealing with the MoD, we have never agreed on a figure at the very start of the case.  The legal process simply doesn’t work like that.

The MoD’s proposals are a blatant attempt to throw a blanket across all military operations stretching right back to Whitehall when, for example, procuring equipment for war. This means that when they send men and women to the front line with the wrong equipment the MoD won’t be “found out” as the cases won’t be made public through the courts, and Parliament and the public won’t know of the MoD’s failings.

The legal process needs to be transparent.  Everyone needs to be accountable.  These proposals are a retrograde step.

Hilary Meredith