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Armed Forces: Compensation Scheme

House of Lords written question – answered on 18th June 2009.

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Photo of Lord Morris of Manchester Lord Morris of Manchester Labour

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they plan to return the burden of proof under the Armed Forces compensation scheme to the Secretary of State for Defence.

Photo of Baroness Taylor of Bolton Baroness Taylor of Bolton Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Defence and Security) (also in the Ministry of Defence), Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence) (International Defence and Security) (also in Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

We have no plans to change the burden of proof, nor remove the time limit for claims made under the Armed Forces compensation scheme.

The standard of proof used in the Armed Forces compensation scheme is based on the balance of probabilities. This is the accepted approach in other schemes, such as the criminal injuries compensation scheme, and in the civil courts. No case should fail where there is reasonable, reliable evidence that injury is due to service and the department is not aware of any examples to date of anyone who deserves an award being denied it due to the burden of proof.

The Service Personnel Command Paper, The Nation's Commitment: Cross-Government Support to Our Armed Forces, Their families and Veterans, laid out our commitment to double the tax-free lump sum for the most serious injuries, raising the maximum lump sum payment to £570,000. All recipients, according to the severity of their injuries, were entitled to an uplift of between 10 and 100 per cent in their upfront lump sum payment. Together with the index-linked, tax-free, annual guaranteed payment, this means the maximum total compensation is now in excess of £1.5 million. All those who have received awards since the start of the scheme in 2005 have benefited from these changes, and all additional payments have now been actioned and paid, meeting the April 2009 deadline.

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