Injured soldiers can claim again


Wounded soldiers can claim more compensation from the government if their injuries worsen, judges at the Court of Appeal have ruled.

It follows a Ministry of Defence challenge to increased payments made to Light Dragoon Anthony Duncan and Royal Marine Matthew McWilliams.

The Royal British Legion said it was a step towards fairer compensation.

The MoD had said awards should be paid only for original injuries and not subsequent complications.

As a result of the court's decision, the two cases will now go back to a compensation tribunal for reconsideration.

BBC defence correspondent Caroline Wyatt said the judges said both sides were partially right but had more or less come down on the side of interpreting the scheme more widely - and the soldiers were right in claiming for more money if injuries worsen.

But the judges also ruled the government was right to raise the issue as the rules had needed to be clarified.

Subsequent problems

Cpl Duncan was initially awarded £9,250 after being shot, which was increased to £46,000 by the tribunal, while Marine McWilliams received £8,250 for fracturing his thigh on a training exercise, which was increased to £28,750.

Both men argued they had suffered a number of subsequent health problems during their treatment and these should not be regarded as separate from their original injuries.

Cpl Duncan, 27, recovered from his injuries following two years of rehabilitation and was posted to Afghanistan in April for a six-month tour.

The judgement was delivered by Lord Justice Carnwath, sitting with Lords Justices Keene and Elias.

He said: "Although some adverse publicity accompanied the beginning of this case, related to its timing linked to tragic events in Afghanistan, the secretary of state was, in my view, entirely justified in bringing the appeal, at least from a legal point of view.

"It seeks to clarify some important and difficult issues relating to construction of the scheme."

The Royal British Legion welcomed the move, saying it meant it now had a judicial foothold to improve the compensation system.

The Legion's director-general, Chris Simpkins, said: "Our Armed Forces never fail to place themselves in harm's way on behalf of the nation. The least a grateful nation can do is compensate them fairly if they are injured."

In July, the MoD announced it was bringing forward a review of compensation for members of the armed forces.

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