Veterans: Vexatious Legal Claims

Defence – in the House of Commons on 2nd November 2020.

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Photo of Stephen Metcalfe Stephen Metcalfe Conservative, South Basildon and East Thurrock

What steps his Department is taking to protect veterans from vexatious legal claims.

Photo of Johnny Mercer Johnny Mercer Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)

We are unstinting in our admiration of and gratitude for our armed forces, who perform exceptional feats in incredibly difficult circumstances to protect this country. We rightly expect the highest standards of our service personnel, and we owe them justice and fairness. We have introduced the Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill to help to tackle vexatious claims and end the cycle of re-investigations against our armed forces personnel and veterans. The Bill’s Third Reading and Report stage are tomorrow.

Photo of Stephen Metcalfe Stephen Metcalfe Conservative, South Basildon and East Thurrock

I thank my hon. Friend for his response. Can he give me and the whole House assurances that veterans’ rights to claim against the MOD will in turn remain protected?

Photo of Johnny Mercer Johnny Mercer Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)

Yes. The majority of personal injury and clinical negligence claims by service personnel and veterans against the MOD do not relate directly to overseas operations so will be unaffected by the Bill. Veterans will still be able to bring claims relating to overseas operations against the MOD within a reasonable timeframe. For example, in the event of a late diagnosis, service personnel and veterans will be able to bring personal injury claims against the MOD for up to six years from their date of knowledge.