Hilary Meredith criticises government’s contradictory stance on Armed Forces Covenant

Hilary Meredith has criticised the government’s “contradictory” stance on the Armed Forces Covenant.

A new Bill is being brought forward today that will see the Armed Forces Covenant enshrined in law.

It will embed the Covenant into law by introducing a legal duty for relevant UK public bodies to have due regard to the principles of the Covenant – a pledge to ensure the Armed Forces community is treated fairly.

The legislation will help prevent service personnel and veterans being disadvantaged when accessing services like healthcare, education and housing, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) said.

It will also improve the Service Justice System for personnel wherever they are operating, the MOD added.

Commenting on the Bill, Hilary Meredith, Chair of Hilary Meredith Solicitors and Visiting Professor of Law and Veterans’ Affairs at the University of Chester said:

“Whilst I fully support enshrining the Armed Forces Covenant into law, this sits at odds with parts of the Overseas Operations Bill. In the Overseas Operations Bill, the six-year longstop on civil claims will significantly disadvantage those who have served abroad.

“It is totally unacceptable for the Government to legislate to deny those who put their lives on the line for our country overseas the same employer liability rights as the UK civilians they defend. It is also a breach of the Armed Forces Covenant. The contradiction here is as clear as day.”

Hilary Meredith Solicitors was the first law firm to sign the Armed Forces Covenant.