The Telegraph’s legal expert, Solicitor Advocate Frank Maguire of Thompsons Solicitors is an expert at winning compensation for clients in personal injury cases. This week he expresses concern over the very hard line the Ministry of Defence is taking on legal claims from our troops.
I am really disappointed at the very hard line the Ministry of Defence seems to be taking when dealing with claims from servicemen and women, including those serving on the frontline.
Our politicians, from Prime Minister David Cameron down rightly praise our troops’ courage, and promise them unstinting support.
But that message doesn’t seem to have got through to the MoD and their lawyers.
One of my colleagues recently had to go the Court of Session with a claim on behalf of a trooper who died excavating a trench at an army base in Basra.
There were gross breaches of health and safety procedures which meant the case could and should have been settled out of court as happens in around 95% of such actions. But the MoD took it all the way.
It’s hard to imagine a more cut and dried case than that of the RAF Nimrod which exploded over Afghanistan, but the parents of one of the 14 victims also had to go to the Court of Session before a jury awarded them £100,000 each.
Afterwards the soldier’s family accused the MoD of adding to their already considerable distress and anguish by expecting them to accept whatever figure the Department’s lawyers proposed.
I can’t understand what seems to be a huge gulf between what the politicians are saying in public and what the MoD and its lawyers are doing in our courts.
In my view supporting our troops means that if they are killed or injured because of the MoD’s negligence, any legal claims they might have should be dealt with promptly, without being unduly drawn out.