Ruling paves way for Armed Forces injury cases

A High Court ruling on 22
January has cleared the way for members of the Armed Forces to sue their
employer if they are injured at work.

Mr Justice Keith ruled that
immunity claimed by the Ministry of Defence against compensation claims was
incompatible with the European convention on human rights.

The case centred on a Navy
engineer who developed an asbestos-related illness through working conditions
between 1955 and 1968.

The MoD is understood to be
appealing the decision which it says could "open the floodgates" to
compensation claims worth millions of pounds.

The MoD also admitted it has
deprived up to 1,000 former soldiers and widows of millions of pounds in
pensions after taxing them wrongly.

The Income and Corporation
Taxes Act 1952 made pensions tax-free if they were granted because of medical
unfitness attributable to armed-forces employment.

By Ben Willmott

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