There was an excellent article in yesterday’s Sunday Telegraph – £150 million legal bill for troops just doing their duty.
I have long campaigned against the tactics of Human Rights lawyers – the most infamous of which is Phil Shiner – who acted for Iraqi’s, accusing the British military of brutality and demanding compensation from the British taxpayer under Human Rights legislation.
No matter what an individual’s legal rights are and whether you are for or against the Human Rights Act, I personally find it very difficult to accept these cases by the mere fact that they are using British legal aid denied to most British residents to take action against the MoD.
As military legal specialists we totally agree with the plans including:
- -Pulling out of the European Convention and declaring a temporary withdrawal from the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), before sending British forces into action in future.
- -Taking legal action against law firms that have brought “bogus” cases against the Armed Forces. This includes referring lawyers to legal watchdogs, and bringing fraud prosecutions against firms found to have made false allegations.
- -New laws to allow the government to recover the costs of bogus judicial reviews.
- -A time limit on legal action to stop compensation claims being made years after incidents occurred. Further reforms would end legal aid for claimants who are living outside the UK.
- -A new Bill of Rights. Michael Gove, the Justice Secretary, is working on a British Bill of Rights to replace the Human Rights Act. This would include safeguards for the Armed Forces to protect them from being sued and we would welcome a meeting with Mr Gove on how this would work in practice.