Tuesday, 28 July 2009
FORTY SHILLIN' ON THE DRUM.
LONDON (Reuters) - The government launched a legal bid on Tuesday to reduce compensation awards made to two soldiers for injuries suffered in service.
The Ministry of Defence is seeking a ruling over awards made to Light Dragoon Anthony Duncan, who now walks on crutches after being shot on patrol in Iraq, and Royal Marine Matthew McWilliams who fractured his thigh in a military exercise.
Duncan was originally awarded 9,250 pounds but that was increased to 46,000 pounds by an appeal tribunal while McWilliams was awarded 8,250 pounds, which was increased to 28,750 pounds on appeal.
The High Court upheld the higher awards, ruling that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) argument that there should be a distinction between the original injury and later complications was "absurd," the Press Association reported.
The legal action comes after two more soldiers died in Afghanistan, bringing the total killed in the bloodiest month for British soldiers in the campaign to 22.
On Monday the government announced the end of the five-week "Panther's Claw" offensive, saying it had succeeded in driving militants out of population centres ahead of Afghan elections next month.
Natalie Lieven, the lawyer representing Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth, told the Court of Appeal on Tuesday that awards for injuries are made under the Armed Forces and Reserve Forces Compensation Order.
She said the Upper Tribunal Administrative Appeal Chamber had made wrong conclusions about the Order and had set out a number of principles on how it should be interpreted.
"The impact of that decision covers the large majority of cases under the Order and is therefore of very great importance to the Secretary of State and to the proper decision-making in many future cases," she said. Continued...