British troops facing allegations of serious misconduct in Iraq or Afghanistan will be legally supported, Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon has said.
Sir Michael acknowledged there had been a “bucketful” of “patently false” claims but said work was under way to eliminate all but the “handful” of serious cases which required proper investigation.
“Because of the high risk of false allegations about conduct in Iraq and Afghanistan and the length of time since these incidents have taken place, let me just confirm that we will provide legal support without subsequent recovery costs in all these cases,” he told reporters in London.
Hilary Meredith, CEO of Hilary Meredith Solicitors Ltd, has been instructed by clients currently subject to judicial process and investigations to consider bringing a Judicial Review against the MoD over the framework of support it provides.
Ms Meredith recently provided evidence at the Defence Sub Committee’s inquiry into the support offered by the Ministry of Defence to former and serving military personnel who are subject to judicial process.
Ms Meredith is also representing a decorated major who faces prosecution for manslaughter over the death of an Iraqi teenager 13 years ago.
Commenting on the Defence Secretary’s announcement, Hilary Meredith said:
“It is with huge relief that I see the government has finally agreed that our servicemen and women should be provided with legal support and subsequent recovery costs when facing judicial process as a result of service in Iraq or Afghanistan.
“It is a shame it has taken so long and the threat of legal action by way of Judicial Review has been necessary.”
Hilary Meredith is calling on the MoD to guarantee the following:
- The right to a framework of help and support for serving and ex-military personnel to include, Chain of Command, welfare and medical support.
- The right to independent legal advice.
- The right for funding for such advice.
- The rights to a fair trial.
- The rights promised to military personnel under the military covenant.
- Remedies under The Human Rights Act 1998.