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Soldier's families to sue the government?

(37 Posts)
Biker Sat 29-Jun-13 06:13:55

Can anyone explain this? Taking the arguments out of whether Iraq or Afghanistan are legal or justified is it right that relatives can potentially sue the Government should their family member be killed or wounded?
When I see the furore in the press surrounding a single casualty I wonder how modern newspaper editors would react to the casualty lists from flanders in the first war.
I have to agree with the senior Army spokesman who suggested that if commanders had to factor in potential litigation then they would never even move from barracks.

Ceesnan Sat 29-Jun-13 06:58:44

One of the arguments is that the MOD failed in its duty of care by supplying troops with inadequate kit. "Snatch" landrovers offered no protection from roadside bombs for example.

Greatnan Sat 29-Jun-13 07:01:01

When a person signs up for the armed forces, they are entitled to expect that the MOD will do everything within its power to protect them.
Billions have been wasted on useless equipment, but a small amount was saved by not providing proper vehicles.

Biker Sat 29-Jun-13 08:05:14

I doubt if even a tank would save the occupants from some of the explosions

grannyactivist Sat 29-Jun-13 08:12:38

Equipment that was known to be faulty and on which the lives of people depended should not have been supplied. It was. And it will continue to be unless someone challenges the practice. There were challenges and they were ignored; hence the families taking the legal route.
Biker do you think it is acceptable to supply troops with substandard equipment? And if not, what action would you have taken, following the unnecessary and avoidable death of your son due to the supply of substandard equipment?

janeainsworth Sat 29-Jun-13 09:37:35

It depends upon whether there was negligence or not, just as with medical compensation claims. In medicine it is known as the Bolam Test - what a practitioner of reasonable skills in that field would have done in the same circumstances.
My nephew will probably be serving in Afghanistan next year. We accept that he will be at risk, but the Army has a duty of care to minimise that risk to what is reasonable.
If it is perceived that the Army has failed to reduce risk to a reasonable level, then it is right that this should be tested in court and compensation paid if the Army is found negligent.

GadaboutGran Sat 29-Jun-13 11:00:41

If the MOD didn't do so many negligent things then there would be no need for people to sue. Without people being brave enough to question such a powerful body, nothing would change & soldiers would be seen as mere war fodder - as they often were in WW1. My grandfather was killed in a military cock-up in WW1 & his widow with 3 young kids had to fight long & hard to get her meagre rights. If we send people to fight on our behalf, even if we disapprove of the cause, then we must support them properly.

Greatnan Sat 29-Jun-13 12:05:10

The statistics seem to bear out the families' claims.
Let us hope they can get legal representation to match that which will be available for the MOD.

Nelliemoser Sat 29-Jun-13 13:21:48

I would think that it could be very difficult to argue negligence in all circumstances. If your vehicle got hit in just the wrong place by an IED or a darn big rocket you would not stand a chance whatever quality equipment you were wearing. It could be interesting to see the legal arguments.

Elegran Sat 29-Jun-13 13:36:21

Two Typhoons from Leuchars have just hurtled past my window. Part of Armed Forces Day. I would NOT like to have planes like this flying over my head in anger, whatever the standard of my protection. To be in a substandard tank, with substandard equipment, is like a fish being shot at in a barrel.

Greatnan Sat 29-Jun-13 14:06:41

Obviously full protection cannot be guaranteed in all circumstances, but surely the very least our troops deserve is the best possible that is available.

Ariadne Sat 29-Jun-13 17:06:26

Indeed they do, Greatnan!

sunseeker Sat 29-Jun-13 17:33:59

As I understand it, the landrovers were known to be susceptable to IEDs. The bottom of the landrover was relatively thin. I think I heard that by simply welding a thicker piece of metal onto the bottom of the landrover improved the chances of survival.

The soldiers serving in foreign wars DESERVE to be supplied with the very best equipment, if they are not then the MOD has been negligent.

I may not support the various conflicts - but I do support the soldiers.

Bags Sat 29-Jun-13 17:36:51

Was spending on the Land Rovers (for instance) reduced because there wasn't enough money to buy the best, or for some other reason?

Greatnan Sat 29-Jun-13 17:39:26

Soldiers don't get the choice of which wars they have to fight. Unfortunately, that is done by politicians and often for dubious motives. My father always believed that the WW1 was fought mainly to fill the coffers of the arms manufacturers - and the poor bloody naïve men and women who volunteered, thinking they were being patriotic, were no more than pieces on a chess board.
I won't hazard a guess at the motives for the Iraq war.

Bags Sat 29-Jun-13 17:48:03

Further to my previous question, if there wasn't enough money to buy the best of every kind of equipment needed by the army, is that the fault of the MOD or is it the fault of tax-payers?

glammanana Sat 29-Jun-13 18:00:26

Biker the stories about the substandard equipment was relayed to me first hand by my youngest boy who did three tours of Iraq as a Field Paramedic,a job you would imagine had him equipped to carry out his job as best he could,but no 6 weeks into the beginning of the conflict and their supplies where still on their way to the troops,no night vision goggles, no sand goggles, substandard transport and not enough kit to go around I could go on and on,I am lucky that my boy came home but some of the other boys I knew didn't and I grieve for them to this day,if anything had happened to my boy because of insufficient or substandard equipment I can assure you I would haunt the powers that be not for compensation but for the truth to be told to all the families concerned.

Bags Sat 29-Jun-13 18:03:55

DH, who knows more about these things than I do, says that until the war in Afghanistan, the Snatch Land Rovers had been perfectly adequate to moving troops around. When the IEDs began to be used the army started replacing the Snatches with a better armoured vehicles (Mastif and others). However, the army was already over budget when this need was identified and the Mastifs etc are extremely expensive (as you would expect), so they could hardly just order hundreds of them at once. The Snatches have now been replaced by better-protected vehicles.

If this is true, it looks as if the army adapted to new circumstances as soon as it was able to, given financial limitations and, presumably, having the things designed and made to cope with the new problems.

It will be interesting to follow the court case.

Bags Sat 29-Jun-13 18:11:32

I certainly hope that the truth, wherever it lies, will out, but the story as told by DH does sound to me like the kind of "arms race" that has ever been the driver of invention during war – your opponents invent some new way of attacking and killing; you have to find some new way of protecting and retaliating. That's how war works.

I'm not defending war, by the way, but trying to look at the problem objectively.

Greatnan Sat 29-Jun-13 18:15:07

How much money has been squandered by the MOD on useless aircraft which could not be used? How many top brass have exited through the revolving door into well paid jobs with defence companies? I could look up the names and numbers in my past copies of Private Eye, but if people want to believe that the MOD is above suspicion, there is no point.

Bags Sat 29-Jun-13 18:26:26

Good point, greatnan.

Greatnan Sat 29-Jun-13 18:27:37

Bags Sat 29-Jun-13 18:27:51

But that still doesn't mean the Mastifs and other well-protected vehicles were available as soon as they were needed.

Bags Sat 29-Jun-13 18:30:42

The article says the necessary vehicles won't be ready for months. Why is that? Is it because they haven't been made yet?

Greatnan Sat 29-Jun-13 18:30:47

Why were they not available - poor strategic planning at the top? I know some British troops had to buy their own equipment for the terrain, and some were given some by the US troops.