Overseas Operations Bill – what next?

There has been much debate and comment over the government’s Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill, including this article by well-respected legal commentator Joshua Rozenberg QC (hon).


Much of the Overseas Operations Bill has been brought as a result of the panic caused by the IHAT investigation (described as a “poisoned well” by Veterans’ Minister, Johnny Mercer) and its systemic failings in procedure by allowing multiple investigations against individual soldiers.

The starting gun for this witch hunt was fired by one lawyer, Phil Shiner, who has now been struck off. Had his initial personal injury claims for nearly 4000 abuses in detention been properly investigated and discovered as fraud from day one, the claims would not have set in motion the multiple criminal investigations resulting in the eventual closure of IHAT and not one single prosecution.

In my view, there needs to be:

1. A mind shift in the civil service – the British military are NOT “rotten to the core.”

2. You are innocent until proven guilty.

3. You cannot be investigated multiple times.

4. Training of government legal departments to identify and challenge fraudulent cases (as civilian lawyers and insurers do) and prosecute those who bring fraudulent claims.

Northern Ireland is a different matter, the “deal” that terrorists have a get out of jail card but the British military is hounded years later cannot be right and equitable and needs a solution.

Hilary Meredith