Ministry of Defence cannot use Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism Bill to avoid its responsibilities to members of the Armed Forces

Hilary Meredith Solicitors has welcomed news that the Ministry of Defence will not be able to use the Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism Bill to avoid its responsibilities to members of the Armed Forces.

Hilary Meredith, CEO of Hilary Meredith Solicitors, has met with a number of MPs and members of the House of Lords in recent weeks to campaign for the rights of Armed Forces service personnel.

Said Hilary, who was in the House of Lords yesterday to listen to the debate on the Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism Bill:

“Our concerns were that the Bill would be exploited by the Ministry of Defence who could present it as a defence to escape liability in cases of their own negligence or vicariously. If this was enabled to happen, the Bill would stand in breach of the military covenant. Lord Beecham raised these concerns in the Lords and invited Lord Faulks to confirm whether the Ministry of Defence would not be able to use the provisions of the Bill to avoid paying compensation to members of the Armed Forces.

“Lord Faulks reassured Lord Beecham that there was nothing in this Bill to prevent a claim being brought by a member of the Armed Forces against the MoD and noted his concerns against the backdrop of the recent combat immunity litigation. He stated that there is no need for anxiety as vicarious liability is not intended to nor will be altered in any way by the provisions of the Bill.”

Added Hilary:

“Lord Beecham noted that this is now on parliamentary record and can be read as the correct interpretation of the legislation if this issue is raised.”