This is an HTML version of an attachment to the Freedom of Information request 'Statistics on common law compensation claims against the MODs'.



   
 
 
MINISTRY OF DEFENCE 
 
         
 
 
 
 
 
CLAIMS 
 
 
 
ANNUAL REPORT 
 
 
2002/2003
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
JULY 2003 

CONTENTS 
 
 
 
 
 
Introduction by Chief Claims Officer 
….…….……………………………………..  2 
 
 
Executive Summary 
………………………………………………………………..  4 
 
 
Section One 
-  Introduction 
……..…………………………………………..  5 
 
 
 
 
Section Two 
-  Risk Management 
…….………………………………………  7 
 
 
 
 
Section Three 
-  Public Liability Claims 
………..………………………………  9 
 
 
 
 
Section Four 
-  Service Personnel Employer’s Liability Claims 
.……………...  16 
 
 
 
 
Section Five 
-  Civilian Staff Employer’s Liability Claims 
..………………….  21 
 
 
 
 
Section Six 
-  Motor Claims 
……...………………………………………….  22 
 
 
 
 
Section Seven 
-  Clinical Negligence Claims 
.....………………..……………….  25 
 
 
 
 
Section Eight 
-  Service Personnel Employment Tribunal Claims 
...……...……  27 
 
 
 
 
Section Nine 
-  Area Claims Officers 
…….….………………………………...  29 
 
 
 
 
Section Ten 
-  Insurance and Indemnities  ……......…………………………….  34 
 
 
 
 
Section Eleven 
-  Novel and Contentious Claims 
….…..……..…………………  36 
 
 
 
 
Section Twelve  -  Law and Practice 
……………………………………………….  42 
 
 
 
 
Annex A 
-  DC&L(F&S)Claims Organisation 
……………..………………  50 
 
 
 
 
Annex B 
-  Top 20 cases settled by DC&L(F&S)Claims 2002/03 
………..  55 
 
 
 
 
Annex C 
-  Top 10 Service Personnel cases settled by RSA 2002/03 
...……   56 
 
 
 
 
Annex D 
-  Top 10 Civilian Staff cases settled by RSA/AXA 2002/03 
……   57 
 
 
 
 
Annex E 
-  Service Personal Injury Claims Handled by RSA broken down 
 
 
 
by causation 
………………………………………….…………….  58 
 
 
1

INTRODUCTION BY THE CHIEF CLAIMS OFFICER 
 
“The Defendant has to be cast iron in law, and on every point or fact in order to succeed. 
One chink and the Defendant loses” 
 
This is our sixth Claims Annual Report.  It covers another very busy year for the Ministry of 
Defence’s Claims organisation during which, in addition to our normal core business, we were 
involved in some particularly important actions brought against the Ministry of Defence. The 
overall DC&L(F&S) expenditure in 2002/2003 was £104 million,  of which £26.4 million was 
legal costs ( that included non-claims activities handled by DC&L(F&S) ), and £76 million was 
compensation. Operating costs were £1.6 million. Over the same period receipts of £6 million 
were recovered.  In addition the cost of compensation claims handled by the overseas Area 
Claims Offices was £2.9 million  
   
Financial year 2002/03 saw the conclusion of two very high profile cases against the 
Department.  The first was the case of Matthews  - v- Ministry of Defence, in which the 
Claimant, an ex-Serviceman suffering from an asbestos related disease, unsuccessfully 
challenged in the House of Lords the Department’s reliance on Section 10 of the Crown 
Proceedings Act 1947, as a defence to his claim for compensation. Lord Bingham, Lord 
Hoffman, Lord Millet, Lord Hope and Lord Walker heard the appeal on 13 and 14 January and 
handed down a unanimous judgment on 13 February 2003 in favour of the Ministry of Defence.  
If Mr Matthews were to have been successful in the House of Lords, compensation would have 
been payable to a significant number of claimants who were legally barred by Section 10 from 
receiving compensation from the Ministry of Defence.     
 
Of equal significance was the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Group Action against the 
Ministry of Defence.  The action in the Royal Courts of Justice by some 2,000 former members 
of HM Forces, mainly relating to service during the Falkland conflict, Gulf conflict, Bosnia and 
Northern Ireland commenced on 4 March 2002 on the basis that the Ministry of Defence failed 
to recognise, diagnose and treat the alleged PTSD. This action, which  was one of the largest 
group actions ever brought in English legal history, and the highest value claim brought against 
the Ministry of Defence, concluded on 13 November 2002.  Judgment was handed down on 21 
May 2003, when Mr Justice Owen ruled in favour of the Ministry of Defence.   
 
Another action against the Department that attracted the attention of the media related to 233 
claims for personal injury or death from Kenyan tribes people allegedly injured by unexploded 
ordnance.  These claims were settled by way of mediation for £4.5 million in July 2002.     
 
Some would say that the compensation culture has gone too far. For example, some primary 
schools have banned football during playtime for fear of being sued by injured children, and a 
doctor refused to assist someone taken ill on board a scheduled passenger flight for the same 
reason. TV adverts are often blamed for the increase in compensation claims and one has only to 
open a national newspaper to read reports of claims being pursued by individuals against their 
employers, local authorities, NHS or the Ministry of Defence to name a few.  It would appear 
that nobody has an accident without blaming someone else for his or her mishap.  But is this a 
fair conclusion?  Some suggest that the increase in claims is a sign of an educated society whose 
citizens are aware of their rights, and who are now willing to take legal action in pursuance of 
those rights. However, whether or not this is so, the huge rise in compensation claims, and the 
burden this places on defendants, is encouraging more emphasis to be placed on taking steps to 
prevent the incidents that give rise to compensation claims in the first place. It is not surprising 
 
2

therefore to see Risk Management attracting greater prominence within the Ministry of Defence. 
My Risk Management team continue to be fully employed in addressing risk management 
matters relating to Ministry of Defence  claims. In the past year we have issued progress reports 
to PUS and prepared a paper for 2nd PUS to submit to the Defence Management Board that 
highlighted the cost of compensation claims.  Each TLB now receives a regular statistical 
breakdown of the claims activity in their budget area and DCDS(Pers) has given excellent 
backing to a number of initiatives which are discussed in the main body of this report.   
 
It has been one of my objectives as Chief Claims Officer to ensure that Claims staff undergo 
appropriate legal training to ensure they acquire a thorough knowledge of the Civil Procedure 
Rules and to keep them abreast of developments in common law.  As in previous years, Claims 
staff have attended a structured series of legal training courses. This ongoing training package, 
underpinned by the Claims and Legal Functional Competence Framework, has ensured that staff 
are armed with the appropriate skills and knowledge to be effective members of the Claims 
team. This training attracts continued professional development status if attended by solicitors.  
 
We have pursued mediation, a new and somewhat novel approach to claims settlement 
advocated by the then Lord Chancellor, as an alternative to the traditional method of settlement.  
In 2002/03, a number of mediation meetings took place, and I anticipate the number of such 
meetings increasing in future years. 
 
I commend the report to you all, and hope that in addition to raising the awareness of Claims 
issues within the Ministry of Defence, readers irrespective of their position within the 
Department will appreciate the cost, not solely in financial terms, of acts of negligence, and play 
their part in reducing them.    
 
Additional copies of this report are available from the DC&L(F&S) Focal Point, Room 601, St 
Giles Court, 1-13 St Giles High Street, LONDON WC2H 8LD. (Tel: 020 7807 0049/0056 or 
Fax: 020 7807 0051).  Copies can also be found on the Ministry of Defence intranet or supplied 
on disk. 
 
3

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 
 
1. 
Total DC&L(F&S) expenditure in the year 2002/03 was £104 million, of which £26.4 
million was legal costs and £76 million was compensation.  Operating costs were  £1.6 
million. Over the same period receipts of £6m were recovered. 
 
2. 
Highest claim settled in year was £4.5 million 
 
 
3. 
At 1 April 2003, the total number of new claims lodged with DC&L(F&S)Claims or the 
Department’s commercial claims handlers was approximately 9000 
 
 
4.  
709 public liability claims were settled at a total cost of £10 million 
 
5.  
733 Service personnel employer’s liability claims were settled at a total cost of £40 
million. 
 
6.  
872 civilian employer’s liability claims were settled at a total cost of £15.6 million. 
 
  
7. 
3142 third party motor claims in the UK were settled at a total cost of £7 million. 
 
 
8. 
60 clinical negligence claims were settled at a total cost of £9 million. 
 
 
9. 
22 Employment Tribunal cases were settled at a total cost of £672,000 
 
 
10. 
ACO Balkans settled 117 cases at a total cost of £134,000 
 
11. 
ACO Falkland Islands settled 4 cases at a total cost of £1,400 
 
12. 
ACO Northern Ireland settled 438 cases at a total cost of £1.1 million 
 
 
13. 
ACO North West Europe settled 988 cases at a total cost of £1.2 million. 
 
 
14. 
ACO Cyprus settled 337 cases at a total cost of £446,000 
 
 
15. 
2045 intentions to claim are registered for those alleged to be suffering from Gulf 
Veterans’ Illnesses. 
 
4

SECTION ONE 
 
INTRODUCTION 
 
ORGANISATION 
 
1.1 
The Ministry of Defence Claims branch (DC&L(F&S)Claims) is primarily responsible 
for processing common- law, non-contractual compensation claims against and on behalf of the 
Ministry of Defence at home and abroad.  It is not responsible for contractual, quasi-contractual, 
sales or estates matters.  It is headed by the Chief Claims Officer (Band B1) and two Senior 
Claims Officers (Band C1).  The Chief Claims Officer reports through DC&L(F&S) and DGSP 
Pol to DCDS(Pers).  Details of the staffing and work of the Claims branch are at Annex A. 
 
Responsibilities 
 
1.2 
In addition to being responsible for processing common law compensation claims, 
Claims branch also has a number of other important responsibilities such as providing claims 
policy advice, handling Service personnel employment tribunal claims, handling claims against 
foreign forces based in the UK and providing advice on insurance and indemnities.  It 
undertakes a variety of secretariat tasks and during the period of this report dealt with 89 
Ministerial Correspondence, 126 Treat Official Correspondence and 40 Parliamentary 
Questions.  
 
1.3 
Area Claims Officers and their staff are located in areas where there is a sizeable defence 
presence  - Northern Ireland, North West Europe, Cyprus, Bosnia, Kosovo and the Falkland 
Islands.  Area Claims Officers are accountable to their Command Secretary but have a 
professional responsibility to the Chief Claims Officer. 
 
1.4 
It is important that staff at all levels within Claims branch acquire the skills, knowledge 
and experience needed to enable them to contribute effectively to the goals of the organisation.  
Claims staff attend a series of structured specialist training seminars covering all aspects of 
common law compensation.  In recognition of the specialised nature of the work, a functional 
competence framework has been introduced to focus on the key skills and training required.  In 
addition, staff have studied for common law diplomas and professional insurance examinations. 
 
Policy and Procedures
 
 
1.5 
When compensation claims are received from Ministry of Defence civilian and Service 
employees, former employees and members of the public, they are considered on the basis of 
whether or not the Ministry of Defence has a legal liability to pay compensation.  Where there is 
a proven legal liability, compensation is paid.  To deal with cases on any basis other than legal 
liability requires difficult subjective judgements to be made that would undoubtedly lead to 
inconsistency and unfairness.  
 
1.6 
The amount of  compensation paid is determined by common law principles which, 
broadly, take account, as appropriate, of the individual’s pain and suffering, degree of injury, 
property losses, past and future financial losses, level of care required, etc.  Levels of 
compensation including these elements can vary greatly depending on an individual’s 
circumstances.  Advice is sought where necessary from Treasury Solicitor’s Department, and 
 
5

our commercial claims handlers’ panel solicitors for cases brought in England and Wales; the 
Crown Solicitor in Northern Ireland; and Morton Fraser Solicitors, the Department’s legal 
advisers in Scotland.  Junior and leading counsel are also consulted on high profile or complex 
cases or where a point of law needs to be explored.  The majority of cases are settled amicably 
one way or the other and most payments of compensation are made without Claimants having to 
take the Ministry of Defence to court. 
 
1.7 
In accordance with Treasury policy, the Ministry of Defence does not normally make ex-
gratia compensation payments in respect of occurrences within the UK.  There are, however, a 
small number of exceptions: i.e. claims arising from military low flying aircraft; claims from 
volunteers who are injured during research work and for certain miscarriages of justice affecting 
Service personnel.  In certain overseas areas, because of the provisions of the NATO Status of 
Forces Agreement and other international agreements, the Ministry of Defence is obliged to 
consider making ex- gratia payments following off duty torts.  Such claims arise from a wide 
variety of incidents ranging from minor criminal damage to rape and murder.  While there is no 
legal obligation, each case is decided on its merits.  A number of factors are taken into account 
including: the degree of infamy (the seriousness of the offence), the conduct of the injured party, 
the practice of the host country in identical circumstances, the degree of financial hardship to the 
claimant as a result of the incident, the political implications  - locally and nationally  - on 
relations with the host country, and the availability and/or financial ability of the tortfeasor 
(wrong-doer) to make satisfactory restitution to the claimant. 
 
1.8 
In addition to common law claims, Claims branch also handles claims relating to 
Employment Tribunal applications brought by current or former Service personnel.  These 
claims typically involve allegations of sexual/racial discrimination or sexual/racial harassment.   
However, as from 1 April 2003, DC&L(F&S)Claims disaggregated the Employment Tribunal 
budget to the single Service secretariat branches, who will now be responsible for the 
investigation and settlement of such claims. 
 
6

SECTION TWO 
 
RISK MANAGEMENT 
 
“Condemn the fault, and not the actor of it” - William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure 
 
 
2.1 
The significance of Risk Management cannot be over emphasised, and the Risk 
Management Group (RMG) has done much to raise the profile of this issue within the 
Department.  To this end, in addition to providing progress reports to PUS on claims risk 
management matters a paper was submitted by 2nd PUS to the Defence Management Board that 
highlighted the cost of compensation claims. A further initiative to drive home the message 
about the costs of claims and the type of accidents that give rise to claims is the promulgation of 
statistical information providing a breakdown of the number and costs of claims attributed to 
each TLB.   
 
2.2 
The RMG also produces a quarterly newsletter that provides news and updates on 
important legal and claims issues including the current concerns of the legal and insurance 
industry. The Ministry of Defence case histories illustrate just how serious the consequences of 
a seemingly minor incident can be in terms of human suffering, as well as the financial impact 
on the Defence budget.  Distribution of the newsletter has steadily grown to around 350 copies; 
it is also available on the Ministry of Defence intranet (Defence Net).  
 
2.3 
The work undertaken by the RMG is governed by the Claims Risk Mana gement 
Working Group, which is chaired by the Chief Claims Officer. Its members are from Claims, 
Health and Safety, the former Defence Secondary Care Agency, Land Accident Investigation 
Team and the Ministry of Defence Road Transport Safety Team. Since its establishment the 
Working Group has tasked RMG to investigate and report on a number of areas that give rise to 
claims. RMG have produced seven working papers for the Working Group’s consideration on 
risk issues such as parachuting and public order training.  The papers identify accident and 
causation trends and where possible comparison with other organisations.   
 
2.4 
The RMG has been working to improve the quality of claims data held by the branch and 
the Department’s contracted claims handlers, Royal & SunAlliance and AXA Corporate 
Solution Services.  A major problem is where units and individuals have not recorded their Unit 
Identity Number (UIN) and TLB details, either when asked to do so or when completing the 
road traffic accident report form (FMT3).  Limited progress has been made to allocate UINs to 
claims.  Royal & SunAlliance has now undertaken to ensure that all claims have a UIN allocated 
to them before they close the claim case file. 
 
2.5 
The allocation of a UIN allows DC&L(F&S)Claims to provide establishments and units 
with a history of those claims arising out of accidents which occurred in their areas.   
 
2.6 
The RMG has also analysed the data collated by Royal & SunAlliance in order to 
identify the causes of claims made by Service personnel and the TLBs in which the accidents 
occurred.  The highlights of this information is shown at Annex E. 
 
2.7 
The cost of litigation remains a significant part of the expenditure involved in settling a 
claim and since April 2000 a solicitor representing a successful claimant has been able to 
 
7

recover  an uplift in fees under Conditional Fee Arrangements and after-the-event insurance 
premiums.   
 
2.8 
Fixed fees have been introduced for road traffic accident claims worth up to £10,000.  
This will see the average base fee falling from £3,000 to £1,400 and should also allow the 
Ministry of Defence to deal with road traffic claims much more quickly. 
 
2.9 
 A Claims Risk Management video is being produced which will be issued widely 
throughout the Department and the Armed Services in order to try to bring home to Service 
personnel and civilian staff at all levels the terrible human and financial cost of accidents.   
  
 
8

SECTION THREE 
 
PUBLIC LIABILITY CLAIMS 
 
“Nothing astonishes men so much as common sense and plain dealing” 
Ralph Waldo Emerson 
 
 
CLAIMS PUBLIC LIABILITY GROUP 
 
3.1 
The majority of claims submitted to the Public Liability Group (PLG) are for personal 
injury or property damage. Most personal injury claims are from members of the public who 
have either been injured on Ministry of Defence property or have sustained injuries whilst 
taking part in the various public relations and recruiting activities run by the Services; e.g. 
injuries sustained on assault courses. 
 
3.2 
Property damage claims usually emanate from personnel working and living in service 
accommodation who have had their belongings damaged by the poor maintenance of the 
properties they occupy.   In the past year claims have been received due to water damage from 
burst pipes, damp from poor insulation and potholes in roads. Several claims were also 
submitted as a result of the adverse weather conditions in the UK last year but the majority of 
these claims were repudiated unless there was evidence that the Ministry of Defence had been 
negligent in some respect.   There continued to be a number of claims from owners of privately 
owned vehicles damaged by the improper operation of security barriers, ramps and gates at 
check points. Twenty claims, settled at a cost of £24,000, were mainly caused by carelessness 
and therefore avoidable.   
 
800
£12,000,000
600
£9,000,000
400
£6,000,000
200
£3,000,000
0
£0
00/01
01/02
02/03
00/01
01/02
02/03
PL claims received
Compensation paid
PL claims settled
 
 
 
2000/01 
2001/02 
2002/03 
Number of PL Claims Received 
556 
570 
631 
Number of PL Claims Settled 
310 
356 
354 
Compensation Paid (£ million) 
2.5 
11.3 
8.5 
 
 
3.3 
Compensation in FY02/03 included £4.5 million, plus legal costs, paid in the case of 
Kenyan tribes people injured or killed by UXOs.   A further property damage claim, resulting 
from the pollution by oil of a trout farm, was settled by mediation for a sum in excess of 
£300,000.  Details of both these cases can be found at Section 11 of this report. 
 
 
9

PUBLIC LIABILITY CLAIMS - NORTHERN  IRELAND 
 
3.4 
The PLG also deals with public liability claims from Northern Ireland which have a 
political and/or sensitive nature. Claims are normally received from members of the public who 
have had some altercation with members of the armed forces whilst in support of the Police 
Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).   In the past, the majority of claims were for alleged assault, 
harassment or wrongful arrest, quite often at vehicle checkpoints.  The table below shows a 
marked increase in the number of claims received in the last financial year which was mainly 
due to the increased requirement for military support in the face of sustained rioting in Belfast 
between January and October 2002, when 85 plastic baton rounds were fired by the Army. 26  
personal injury claims have been received for injuries allegedly caused by plastic baton rounds 
during this period. 
 
3.5 
Of the compensation  paid in the last financial year, £112,500 related to one very old 
incident. Disregarding the claims resulting from this incident (three in number), the average paid 
per claim was £1,654, a continuing drop on previous years.  
 
80
£350,000
70
60
£280,000
50
£210,000
40
30
£140,000
20
£70,000
10
0
£0
00/01
01/02
02/03
00/01
01/02
02/03
Claims received
Compensation paid
Claims settled
 
 
 
2000/01 
2001/02 
2002/03 
Number of Claims Received 
34 
28 
75 
Number of Claims Settled 
56 
30 
16 
Compensation Paid (£) 
320,000 
74,000 
119,000 
 
 
 MARITIME  CLAIMS 
 
"A ship in port is safe, but that's not what ships are built for.” - Grace Murray Hopper 
 
3.6 
Maritime claims by and against the Ministry of Defence result mainly from collisions, 
oil spillage, gunnery/missile firing incidents, damage to static property, wash damage, fishing 
gear damage and the salvage and recovery  of Ministry of Defence property.  Maritime law is 
complex and much of the legislation dealing with the law of the sea was enacted more than 
ninety years ago. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
10

 
2000/01 
2001/02 
2002/03 
Number of property claims 
28 
30 
52 
received 
Number of property claims settled 
23 
32 
49 
Amount paid (£) 
166,000 
218,000 
235,000 
Number of salvage claims 
Included in above 
received 
figures 
2 
5 
Included in above 
Number of salvage claims settled 
figures 
3 
7 
Included in above 
Amount paid (£) 
271,000 
198,000 
figures 
 
 
3.7 
There was a marked increase in the number of property damage claims received this year 
mainly attributable to 25 individual claims from crew members of HMS Nottingham whose 
personal property was destroyed when she ran aground in July 2002. 
 
3.8 
The Ministry of Defence provides assistance to ships in distress in UK waters and 
regularly helps in other parts of the world.  If as the result of the assistance given a vessel is 
salved, the Department is entitled to claim salvage based on the value of the ship and its cargo.  
Part of the amount in salvage is paid to the crew of the assisting ship or aircraft in accordance 
with the Merchant Shipping Act 1864.  It is Ministry of Defence policy not to claim salvage 
when life saving has been the main aim of the assistance given.  Although uncommon, salvage 
claims by members of the public for the successful recovery of our property can likewise be 
made against the Department. 
 
15
£500,000
12
£400,000
9
£300,000
6
£200,000
3
£100,000
0
£0
00/01
01/02
02/03
00/01
01/02
02/03
Maritime & salvage claims initiated
Maritime & salvage claims settled
Amount recovered
 
 
 
2000/01 
2001/02 
2002/03 
Number of maritime recovery and 
13 
13 

salvage claims initiated 
Number of maritime recovery and 

Nil 

salvage claims settled 
Amount recovered (£) 
434,000 
Nil 
78,000 
 
 
3.9 
In addition to the work undertaken by Claims branch, Flag Officer Scotland, Northern 
England and Northern Ireland (FOSNNI) and Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST) have delegated 
authority to settle claims of up to £8,000 per fishing gear claim, £5,000 per collision claim and 
£1,000 per oil spillage claim. 
 
 
 
11

 
2000/01 
2001/02 
2002/03 
Number of claims settled by 
35 
43 
29 
FOSNNI 
Amount paid by FOSNNI (£) 
59,000 
56,000 
38,000 
Number of claims settled by 
33 
40 
32 
FOST 
Amount paid by FOST (£) 
61,000 
46,000 
40,000 
Total amount paid (£) 
120,000 
102,000 
78,000 
 
 
LOW FLYING MILITARY  AIRCRAFT  CLAIMS 
 
"It is possible to fly without motors but not without knowledge and skill” - Wilbur Wright 
 
3.10 
The activities of low flying military aircraft can sometimes give rise to claims for 
compensation from members of the public.  The most common claims are those involving injury 
to or death of livestock and/or damage to property although claims are sometimes received for 
personal injury.  Many of the claims are for relatively small amounts, but low flying military 
aircraft activity is an emotive issue in some areas of the country.  Such claims are handled on an 
ex gratia basis but are investigated in the same way as if the principles of common law legal 
liability applied.  The foundation of this approach is the Royal Prerogative which gives an 
absolute right for all military flying activity and, therefore, an injured party has no legal rights of 
redress for compensation.  This approach was set out in a Lords Written Answer by Lord 
Drumalbyn on 22 November 1971 (Official Report Column 888): 
 
"… No remedies exist in law against any military aircraft flying by virtue of the Royal 
Prerogative for the purpose of the defence of the Realm or of training or of maintaining the 
efficiency of the Armed Forces of the Crown.  The ... Ministry of Defence will, however, pay 
compensation on an ex gratia basis if satisfied that the damage has been caused by a military 
aircraft." 
 
3.11 
A procedure has been in place since 1994, following consultation with various farming 
unions and landowners’ associations, for dealing with claims  relating to death or injury to 
livestock.  The procedure was most recently updated in December 1999 after a round of 
consultations with the NFU, Country Landowners’ Association and other similar bodies.  In 
accordance with the Livestock and Animal Compensation Claims Guidance the claimant should 
report the incident promptly, provide veterinary evidence and a fully quantified claim. 
 
3.12 
Unfortunately, this is a category of work that requires careful monitoring to identify 
potentially fraudulent claims.  
 
3.13 
On a local level, where public relations play an important role, RNAS, AAC and RAF 
Station Commanders have delegated authority to settle straightforward property damage claims 
up to the value of £200 where the claimant lives within two miles of the air field.  In addition, the 
Regional Community Relations Officers (RCROs) have been given authority from the Chief 
Claims Officer to recommend fast track settlements for simple straightforward claims up to 
£250. 
 
12

250
£1,250,000
200
£1,000,000
150
£750,000
100
£500,000
50
£250,000
0
£0
00/01
01/02
02/03
00/01
01/02
02/03
Claims received
Claims settled
Claims repudiated
Amount paid
 
 
 
2000/01 
2001/02 
2002/03 
Number of claims received 
194 
182 
215 
Number of claims settled 
131 
127 
174 
Number of claims repudiated 
15 
20 
30 
Amount paid (£) 
822,000 
1,047,000 
469,000 
 
 
3.14 
This year there was a sharp increase in the number of claims made against the Ministry 
of Defence, reflecting the increase in flying activity in preparation for operations duties. 
However the total value of the claims settled has decreased. 
 
 
AIR CRASH CLAIMS SETTLED BY DEFENCE  ESTATES  
 
3.15 
The Defence Estates organisation (DE) has delegated authority to settle property damage 
claims arising from military aircraft crashes in the UK within delegated financial authority of up 
to £50,000 per claim.  DE personnel perform valuable work in the aftermath of an air crash and 
have the expertise to assess many different types of damage from forestry to buildings. This was 
well illustrated following a RAF Hawk crash at Shap, Cumbria, in October 1999 where a 
number of properties were severely affected by debris from the crash.    
 
12
£140,000
9
£110,000
6
£80,000
3
£50,000
0
£20,000
00/01
01/02
02/03
00/01
01/02
02/03
Claims settled by DE
Amount paid
 
 
 
2000/01 
2001/02 
2002/03 
Number of claims settled by DE 
11 


Amount paid (£) 
112,000 
119,000 
65,000 
 
  
 

 
13

VISITING FORCES CLAIMS 
 
3.16 
The PLG handles third party claims by and  against Visiting Forces based in or visiting 
the United Kingdom under the provisions of Article VIII of NATO SOFA and Section 9 of the 
Visiting Forces Act 1952.  Such claims could be on behalf of any of the states who are 
signatories to the agreement or who are invited to train in the UK, but primarily involve the 
USA, Holland, Belgium and Germany.  Claims are investigated and handled in exactly the same 
way as if British Forces were involved and, if satisfied that the Visiting Force is liable, the 
Ministry of Defence pays compensation on their behalf.  In the case of NATO countries, the 
Sending State is generally billed for 75% of the amount paid, the United Kingdom paying the 
other 25%.   
 
80
£1,000,000
70
60
£800,000
50
£600,000
40
30
£400,000
20
£200,000
10
0
£0
00/01
01/02
02/03
00/01
01/02
02/03
Visiting forces claims received
Visiting forces claims settled

Compensation paid
 
 
 
2000/01 
2001/02 
2002/03 
Number of visiting forces claims 
72 
73 
73 
received 
Number of visiting forces claims 
53 
71 
41 
settled 
Compensation paid (£) 
875,000 
265,000 
246,000 
 
 
3.17 
Visiting Forces claims can be categorised as follows: 
 
Property 
Personal 
2002/03 
RTAs 
Misc 
Total 
Damage 
Injury 
Claims Received 
12 
24 
35 

73 
Claims Settled 


25 

41 
Compensation Paid (£) 
16,156 
192,704 
37,153 

246,013 
MOD Contribution (£)  
4,000 
30,000 
7,000 

41,000 
 
 
FINANCIAL RECOVERIES  
 
3.18 
Where the Ministry of Defence sustains loss or damage to equipment, or property, which 
has been caused by a third party, the PLG will seek to recover those losses from the third party.   
The main causes for taking action against third parties are occasions where Ministry of Defence 
static property has been damaged by vehicles, fire, or the negligence of a contractor. 
 
 
14

3.19 
Less often, the PLG will seek to recover compensation from third parties overseas 
following road traffic accidents and will also assist visiting forces to make recoveries in the UK 
if requested to do so. 
 
3.20 
The number of recoveries processed by the PLG in each of the last three financial years 
is shown in the following graphs and table: 
 
80
£2,500,000
£2,000,000
60
£1,500,000
40
£1,000,000
20
£500,000
0
£0
00/01
01/02
02/03
00/01
01/02
02/03
Claims notified
Successful recoveries
Amount recovered
 
 
 
2000/01 
2001/02 
2002/03 
Number of claims notified 
60 
38 
47 
Number of successful recoveries 
16 
24 
36 
Amount recovered (£) 
13,000 
2,016,000 
439,000 
 
 
  
 
15

SECTION FOUR 
 
SERVICE PERSONNEL EMPLOYER’S LIABILITY CLAIMS 
 
"It doesn't take a hero to order men into battle. It takes a hero to be one of those men 
who goes into battle."     General Norman Schwarzkopf 
 
 
4.1 
Prior to 1948, it was not possible for any individual to sue the Crown. This was because 
of the long held principle that ‘the Crown could do no wrong’.  However,  in 1947, legislation 
was passed enabling the Crown to be sued for acts of negligence.  Section 10 of that legislation, 
The Crown Proceedings Act 1947, prevented Service personnel who were on duty or on any 
land, premises, ship, etc. being used for the purposes of the Armed Forces from suing for 
compensation.  This position remained until 15 May 1987 when The Crown Proceedings 
(Armed Forces) Act 1987 repealed Section 10 of The Crown Proceedings Act 1947.  Since then 
Service personnel have, like any other employee, been entitled to sue the Ministry of Defence 
for compensation where they have suffered as a result of the Department’s negligence.  The 
repeal of Section 10 was not made retrospective. 
 
4.2 
Compensation in the form of a War Disablement Pension  and associated benefits is also 
available to all former members of HM Forces suffering from Service attributable illness or 
injury. War Pensions are administered and paid by the Ministry of Defence’s Veterans Agency 
(formerly the War Pensions Agency) and are non-discretionary, not means-tested and are made 
on a no- fault, tax free and retrospective basis.  They are uprated annually.  Most pension and 
related benefit rates vary depending on the degree of physical disability and do not reflect actual 
financial losses or hardships. 
 
4.3 
Royal and SunAlliance plc have been handling personal injury claims from Service and 
ex-Service personnel on behalf of the Ministry of Defence since 1 July 1996 when they were 
first awarded the contract. Following a competitive tender exercise they were re-awarded the 
contract for a further 5-year period as from 1 May 2002. Claims notified before 1 September 
1996, and some more recent political or sensitive claims, are handled by the Employers Liability 
Group within DC&L(F&S)Claims.  The number of claims and amounts paid are shown below: 
 
1000
£50,000,000
800
£40,000,000
600
£30,000,000
400
£20,000,000
200
£10,000,000
0
£0
00/01
01/02
02/03
00/01
01/02
02/03
Claims received
Claims settled
Claims repudiated
Amount paid
 
 
 
2000/01 
2001/02 
2002/03 
Number of claims received 
924 
819 
666 
Number of claims settled 
948 
351 
733 
Number of claims repudiated 
397 
253 
322 
Amount paid (£ million) 
37 
32 
40 
 
16

TRENDS 
 
 
4.4  
 
 
Claims received 
1999/00 
2000/01 
2001/02 
2002/03 
Parachuting 




Bullying 
12 
14 


Slip/trip 
75 
80 
88 
86 
 
100
80
60
40
20
0
99/00
00/01
01/02
02/03
Parachuting
Bullying
Slip/Trip
 
 
 
BRIEF SUMMARY OF GROUP ACTIONS 
 
NUCLEAR TEST VETERANS 
 
4.5 
Compensation for UK Nuclear Test Veterans was the subject of an Adjournment Debate 
held in Westminster Hall at the Houses of Parliament on 4 December 2002. At the Debate, Dr 
Lewis Moonie, the then Under Secretary for State for Defence, restated the Ministry of 
Defence's position that there is no scientific or medical evidence which shows that participation 
in the test programme had a detectable effect on the participants’ expectation of life or on their 
risk of developing cancer or other fatal diseases. In addition, there is no evidence that shows that 
the health or other physical problems suffered by the children or grandchildren of test veterans 
could be attributed to participation in the test programme. He did however invite the nuclear test 
veterans to present any new evidence that supported their case for independent review. A third 
National Radiological Protection Board report carried out independently of the Ministry of 
Defence was published in early 2003.  The report, as did the previous two pub lished in 1988 and 
1993, supported the  Ministry of Defence’s  position in this matter.  
 
4.6 
Two firms of solicitors (Alexander Harris Solicitors, Altrincham and Clark Wilmot and 
Clark Solicitors, Bristol) announced in July 2002 that they had been jointly instructed by British 
nuclear test veterans to act on their behalf in an action against the Ministry of Defence for 
damages.  It is understood that the solicitors have secured legal aid from the Legal Services 
Commission to pursue this matter. To date, no further announcements have been made. 
 
RADIATION COMPENSATION SCHEME 
 
4.7 
The  Ministry of Defence is a member of the nuclear industry’s Compensation Scheme 
for Radiation Linked Diseases. This is a no fault scheme where there is no requirement for 
Claimants to prove negligence on the part of the Department in order to receive compensation.  
 
17

The Scheme, which the Ministry of Defence joined in 1994, was set up and is run jointly by the 
participating employers and Trade Unions and does not affect the Claimants’ right to seek legal 
redress.  The Scheme provides for the assessment of a case, on an agreed technical basis, in 
order to determine the probability that a cancer contracted by a worker could have been caused 
by occupational radiation exposure.  The amount of compensation payable in a successful case 
is determined by negotiation between the solicitors representing the parties based upon the same 
guidelines that would apply if the case had proceeded to Court.  The Scheme provides for 
payments to be made fo r lower levels of causation probability than would be allowed by the 
Courts.  In addition, the Scheme provides “full” payment of compensation at a level of 50% 
causation probability and lesser payments down to a level of 20% causation probability.  In this 
way the assessment of a case recognises that even below the balance of probability there is a 
chance that exposure to occupational ionising radiation played a role in the disease. 
 
4.8 
During financial year 2002/03, the Scheme received 15 new claims from  former Ministry 
of Defence employees (military and civilian) who believe their illness is associated with 
exposure to occupational ionising radiation.  Over the same period, 9 claims were repudiated as 
failing to meet the minimum 20% causation probability and 3 claims were settled.  In addition to 
the claims settled under the Scheme, 2 further radiation related cases were settled by the 
Ministry of Defence on the basis of legal liability. 
  
POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER (PTSD) 
 
4.9 
The Ministry of Defence  acknowledges that some members of the Armed Forces may, 
during the course of their careers, be subjected to traumatic experiences and may suffer stress as 
a result. This does not necessarily mean that the Ministry of Defence has been negligent. 
Ministry of Defence does, however, have a duty to ensure that Service personnel receive proper 
treatment and where we fail in this respect, and the individual suffers loss or damage as a result, 
then that individual may be entitled to compensation.  
 
4.10 
As highlighted in last year’s Claims Annual Report, about 2,000 PTSD claims have been 
received from former members of HM Forces.  These claims mainly relate to service during the 
Falkland Islands conflict, Gulf conflict, Bosnia, and in Northern Ireland. Because many of the 
claims contain similar allegations the Lord Chief Justice set up a Group Action in 2000.    The 
allegations in general terms were that the Department was negligent in that it failed to properly 
recognise, diagnose and treat those said to be suffering from PTSD.  The action, which 
commenced in the High Court on 4 March 2002, was one of the largest group actions brought in 
the legal history of the UK, and the highest value claim ever brought against the Ministry of 
Defence.  By way of illustrating the  magnitude of the case, the Ministry of Defence disclosed 
36,000 documents to the opposing side in defending the litigation.  The action concluded on 13 
November 2002 and Judgment in favour of the Ministry of Defence was handed down on 21 
May 2003.    Except in a number of very minor respects, the Claimants' arguments were 
rejected, and the Judge held that the Ministry of Defence  had not been in breach of its duty of 
care to them.  The Judge decided that the Ministry of Defence’s systems operated reasonably 
when judged against the standards imposed by the common law as well as the policies and 
practices of the USA and Israel, the two countries with probably the most experience of 
psychiatry and war.  The Judge did, however, find that the Ministry of Defence was in breach of 
duty to individual Claimants in four of the 22 lead cases.  He emphasised that these failings 
were not because of faults in the Ministry of Defence’s systems and policies but arose because 
of failures of individuals.     
 
18

GULF VETERANS’ ILLNESS 
 
4.11 
The Ministry of Defence has still not received any writs or detailed claims stating 
specific allegations of negligence sufficient to start considering these claims. The Ministry of 
Defence has not accepted either cause or negligence, but has acknowledged less than 
satisfactory handling of a number of matters, such as the failure to transfer details of vaccination 
to permanent records, the way in which “informed consent” was implemented and the initial 
failure to provide information about the use of organophosphates.   
 
4.12 
The web site of the solicitors instructed by the Gulf veterans states that advice from 
Queen’s Counsel on the  merits of their case has been received. However, the Ministry of 
Defence has not been notified about the content of the advice 
 
4.13 
The number of new notifications registering an intention to claim from Gulf veterans, 
their families and civilians has reduced compared to previous years.  During the past year 
Claims branch received 16 notifications. The total number of such notifications as at 31 March 
2003 was 2,045, of which 1,943 are deemed to be currently ‘active’.    
 
4.14 
Further information on Gulf veterans’ illness issues is available from the Ministry of 
Defence’s Gulf Veterans Illness Unit web site at www.mod.uk/issues/gulfwar.    
 
PORTON DOWN 
 
4.15 
We have received notification of potential claims by some 500 former Service volunteers 
relating to biological and chemical research tests at Porton Down in the 1950s  and 1960s.      
Solicitors acting for these veterans have previously indicated that their clients will soon be in a 
position to serve proceedings on the Ministry of Defence.      
 
4.16 
The alleged incidents at Porton Down have also been subject of an investigation by 
Wiltshire Police and we understand the police have now submitted files to the Crown 
Prosecution Service (CPS). The CPS will be taking Treasury Counsel’s advice on this matter, in 
particular on the issue of “informed consent” in the context of criminal assault. We are still 
awaiting the CPS to promulgate their decision. The Ministry of Defence has co-operated fully 
with Wiltshire Police during their inquiry.     
 
ASBESTOS RELATED CLAIMS  (SECTION 10 CROWN PROCEEDINGS ACT) 
 
4.17 
Prior to May 1987  Service personnel were prevented by law from pursuing claims for 
compensation from the Ministry of Defence by Section 10 of The Crown Proceedings Act 1947 
(Crown Immunity prevented claims from being made prior to 1947).    However, Section 10 was 
repealed  by The Crown Proceedings (Armed Forces) Act 1987. Since the change in the law, 
which was not made retrospective, Service personnel who suffer loss or injury as a result of 
negligence by the Ministry of Defence have been entitled to make common law claims for 
compensation.     
 
4.18 
It therefore follows that members of the Armed Forces who were exposed to asbestos 
dust and fibre during service before 15 May 1987, are prevented by law from receiving 
compensation from the Ministry of Defence. The legal positio n is that even if an ex-Serviceman 
only now discovers he has an asbestos related disease, he cannot sue for compensation if 
exposure was before the repeal of Section 10 of The Crown Proceedings Act 1947. Given that 
controls over the use of asbestos were introduced in the early 1970s, this is and will be the case 
 
19

for the vast majority of ex-Service claimants (the time between exposure and the first signs of 
disease is typically between 15 and 40 plus years). 
 
4.19 
When Parliament debated the repeal of Section 10, the question of retrospection was 
considered and motions to allow all past and present members of HM Forces or their dependants 
to pursue compensation claims for injury or death were moved: they were defeated or 
withdrawn.  The view then, as it is now, was that there is no logical point at which to draw a 
line, short of trying to cover all types of injury, and this would create more examples of 
unfairness and injustice. The Government, therefore, has no plans to introduce legislation to 
allow ex-Service personnel suffering illness or injury before 1987 to be paid common law 
compensation.   
 
4.20 
Some veterans believe that there is unfairness in the way in which claims from former 
members of HM Forces suffering from asbestos related disease are considered in comparison 
with claims from former Ministry of Defence civilian employees. This apparent unfairness, and 
the scope for providing former members of HM Forces with additional help, was the subject of 
an internal review two years ago. The review, howeve r, demonstrated that compensation 
through war pensions and associated allowances or common law can be shown to be broadly 
comparable over time, and that there is no general unfairness in the way in which these claims 
are handled. It would be inequitable to treat this group in isolation in terms of common law 
compensation because to do so would create many examples of unfairness and injustice. 
 
MATTHEWS -V- MOD (HOUSE OF LORDS JUDGMENT) 
 
4.21 
Mr Matthews, an ex-Serviceman suffering from an asbestos related disease challenged 
this position on the basis that Section 10 of the Crown Proceedings Act 1947 is incompatible 
with the European Convention of Human Rights. The matter was heard in the High Court in 
December 2001 and judgment was handed down in favour of the Claimant. The Department 
secured leave to take this matter expeditiously to the Court of Appeal which overturned the High 
Court decision, but granted leave for Mr Matthews to take this matter to the House of Lords.               
 
4.22 
Lord Bingham, Lord Hoffman, Lord Millet, Lord Hope and Lord Walker heard the 
appeal on 13 and 14 January this year. A unanimous judgment was handed down on 13 
February 2003 in favour of the Ministry of Defence.    
 
4.23 
The solicitors acting for Mr Matthews intimated in March 2003 that their client will now 
proceed to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) for a hearing to challenge the decision 
of the House of Lords. Mr Matthews has six months to lodge his application with the ECHR.     
 
20

SECTION FIVE 
 
CIVILIAN STAFF EMPLOYER’S LIABILITY CLAIMS 
 
“Recompense injury with justice” – Confucius 
 
5.1 
Since 1982 the Ministry of Defence has contracted out the handling of its civilian 
employee employer's liability claims.  As from 1 May 2002 Royal and SunAlliance plc have 
been hand ling all new civilian Employer's Liability claims on behalf of the Ministry of Defence 
under a 5-year contract. The contract was previously held by AXA Corporate Solution Services 
Ltd which is continuing to handle those claims first notified up to 30 April 2002. The 
information below reflects the combined total from both companies.  
 
5.2       Ministry of Defence  civilian employees injured in the course of their official duties may 
be able to claim compensation. Over the period 2001/02, 872 claims from Ministry of Defence 
civilian employees were settled. Details on how to submit a claim are contained in Volume 16, 
Section 7 of the Ministry of Defence Personnel Manual.  The main types of claims received in 
the last three years from current or former Ministry of Defence civilian staff are shown in the 
charts below. 
 
1200
£16,000,000
900
£12,000,000
600
£8,000,000
300
£4,000,000
0
£0
00/01
01/02
02/03
00/01
01/02
02/03
Total claims received
Amount paid
 
 
Claims received 
2000/01 
2001/02 
2002/03 
Asbestos related disease 
215 
368 
464 
Noise Induced Hearing Loss 
143 
110 
121 
Vibration White Finger 
35 
70 
112 
Accident Injury 
498 
573 
416 
(Trip/Slip, Lifting, Machinery) 
TOTAL 
891 
1,121 
1,113 
 
 
Claims settled (£) 
2000/01 
2001/02 
2002/03 
Asbestos related disease  
7,115,000 
2,803,629 
7,505,319 
Noise Induced Hearing Loss 
682,000 
4,682,601 
613,013 
Vibration White Finger 
115,000 
378,764 
242,443 
Accident Injury 
6,806,000 
4,893,827 
7,267,592 
(Trip/Slip, Lifting, Machinery) 
Amount Paid (£ million) 
14.7 
12.8 
15.6 
 
 
21

SECTION SIX 
 
MOTOR CLAIMS 
 
“The best car safety device is a rear-view mirror with a cop in it” Dudley Moore 
 
 
THIRD PARTY MOTOR CLAIMS - UK 
 
6.1 
Since 1982, the Ministry of Defence has contracted out the handling of claims made 
against the Department by other road users.  The contract for the period 2002 to 2007 is held by 
AXA Corporate Solution Services Ltd.  The majority of motor accidents involving Ministry of 
Defence vehicles occur within the UK, although AXA do handle around 40 third party claims 
each year from UK based vehicles travelling in mainland Europe.  The number of third-party 
claims settled by AXA was 3142.  A breakdown of the number of such claims received is shown 
below. 
 
2600
£12,000,000
1950
£9,000,000
1300
£6,000,000
650
£3,000,000
0
£0
00/01
01/02
02/03
00/01
01/02
02/03
Army
Navy
RAF
Others
Amount paid
 
 
Service 
2000/01 
2001/02 
2002/03 
Army 
1944 
1928 
2397 
Navy 
271 
216 
336 
RAF 
443 
443 
629 
Other 
373 
916 
349 
TOTALS 
3031 
3503 
3709 
Amount paid (£ million) 
8.7 
11 

 
 
THIRD PARTY MOTOR CLAIMS - OVERSEAS (NOT DEALT WITH BY  ACOS) 
 
6.2 
Claims arising from non-UK based vehicles overseas are handled by the appropriate 
Area Claims Officers (ACO) or the  Claims PLG where no ACO exists for that geographical 
area.   It is not unusual for Claims PLG to receive claims from anywhere in the world where 
British Forces are based, on exercise or even when there is a single defence attaché with one car.  
This year has seen claims from Gibraltar, Sierra Leone, Belize and  Kenya.  In accordance with 
JSP 341, units and organisations should send FMT 3-1 (the form submitted by the user unit 
notifying details of traffic accidents involving Ministry of Defence owned or hired vehicles, and 
showing that the driver was on duty at the time of the incident) and supporting statements to 
DC&L(F&S) Claims.   
 
 
22

6.3 
Claims managers are required to establish that an authorised driver was driving the 
Ministry of Defence vehicle on an authorised journey and route.  If these criteria are met and all 
the evidence suggests that the Ministry of Defence driver was liable for the accident, then 
compensation will be paid.  Statistics for motor claims for the last three years are shown in the 
table below.  The number of claims received in financial year 2002/2003 shows that there has 
been a substantial drop from previous year’s totals.  It should be noted, however, that since 1 
April 2001 units are now responsible for their own “loss of use” and “w rite off” claims, 
although Claims branch continue to deal with some residual claims resulting from accidents 
which occurred before 1 April 2001. 
 
300
£400,000
250
£300,000
200
150
£200,000
100
£100,000
50
0
£0
00/01
01/02
02/03
00/01
01/02
02/03
Claims received
Amount paid
Claims settled
 
 
 
2000/01 
2001/02 
2002/03 
Number of claims received 
277 
108 
38 
Number of claims settled 
222 
133 
45 
Amount paid (£) 
301,000 
192,000 
73,000 
 
 
VISITING FORCES MOTOR  CLAIMS 

 
 
6.4 
Claims PLG handles third party claims involving Visiting Forces in the UK, the 
vast majority of which result from road traffic accidents.  Any personal injury element of such 
claims is handled in exactly the same way as other injury claims, and damage claims are settled 
on production of a bill or an expert’s assessment. 
 
75
£250,000
60
£200,000
45
£150,000
30
£100,000
15
£50,000
0
£0
00/01
01/02
02/03
00/01
01/02
02/03
RTA Claims received
RTA Claims settled
MOD Contribution
 
 
 
2000/01 
2001/02 
2002/03 
Number of RTA claims received 
59 
45 
35 
Number of RTA claims settled 
43 
48 
25 
Compensation paid (£) 
775,000 
59,000 
37,153 
MOD Contribution (£) 
193,750 
14,750 
6,750 
 
23

UNINSURED LOSS RECOVERIES    
  
 
6.5 
AXA Corporate Solution Services Ltd recover on behalf of the Ministry of Defence the 
cost of damage caused to its vehicles in accidents which are the fault of a third party.  The 
number of recoveries and the amounts received are shown below. 
 
500
£400,000
£350,000
400
£300,000
300
£250,000
£200,000
200
£150,000
£100,000
100
£50,000
0
£0
00/01
01/02
02/03
00/01
01/02
02/03
Number of recoveries
Amount recovered
 
 
 
2000/01 
2001/02 
2002/03 
Number of recoveries 
208 
382 
153 
Amount recovered (£) 
173,000 
343,300 
231,000 
 
 
COST OF DAMAGE TO MOD VEHICLES  
 
6.6 
Claims branch does not pay for damage to Ministry of Defence owned or hired vehicles 
as this  is the responsibility of the unit involved.  Similarly, since 1 April 2001 responsibility 
rests with the unit for any claim resulting from the “loss of use” or “write off” of the vehicle. 
 
24

SECTION SEVEN 
 
CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE CLAIMS 
 
“Health is not valued till sickness comes” Dr Thomas Fuller 1654-1734 
   
 
7.1 
Clinical Negligence claims arise when a patient considers that the advice and/or 
treatment received fell below acceptable standards due to the negligence of the medical staff.  
To succeed in bringing a  claim for negligence the claimant must establish that the defendant 
owed them a duty of care and that there was a negligent breach of that duty resulting in the 
claimant suffering damage.   Establishing a duty of care is not particularly difficult in clinical 
negligence cases as any medical practitioner or hospital can reasonably foresee that any breach 
on their part may cause harm to the patient.   
 
7.2 
Clinical negligence often poses unique problems when compared with other types of 
litigation.  Distinguishing negligent harm from unavoidable outcomes or acknowledged risks 
when treating a patient sufficiently ill to require intervention is neither simple nor quick. Even 
when the Department’s liability can be established, by their very nature clinical negligence 
claims can often take a very long time to reach a conclusion. In many cases the claimant will not 
wish to agree settlement until the full extent and prognosis of their disablement is know. This is 
true in claims involving brain-damaged children born in Service hospitals, where it may take 
many years before medical experts can properly assess the full extent of their disablement and 
life expectancy.  
 
7.3 
Also the application of the Limitation Act is often challenged in clinical negligence 
cases.   The  Limitation Act 1980 sets out the time limits within which certain claims must be 
made.  Section 11 of the Act provides that in personal injury claims the normal rule is within 3 
years of the date on which the cause of action accrued or within 3 years from when the claimant 
knew, or might reasonably be expected to have known, certain specified facts.   In many clinical 
negligence cases the claimant may not initially realise, or suspect, that the advice/treatment 
given was negligent.   It may well be argued that the claimant was not advised that this is a 
distinct possibility until many years later, when he/she seeks advice from other clinicians as a 
result of on-going problems.  
 
7.4 
Due to their nature, clinical negligence claims can also be very expensive to settle. A 
number of factors underpin the rising costs of settling such claims.  Cases settled in the courts 
have raised the level of general damages, and changes to the discount rate that applies to future 
costs have increased the levels of settlement. Also, labour rates for carers and therapists have 
risen significantly faster then inflation.         
 
7.5 
During the financial year 2002/2003 one case alone was settled for £3.3 million and 
three other cases were settled for sums of £500,000 or more.  
 
25

160
£12,000,000
140
120
£9,000,000
100
80
£6,000,000
60
40
£3,000,000
20
0
£0
00/01
01/02
02/03
00/01
01/02
02/03
Claims received
Compensation paid 
Claims settled
 
 
 
2000/01 
2001/02 
2002/03 
Number of claims received 
128 
142 
119 
Number of claims settled 
79 
59 
60 
Compensation plus cost of 
11 


claims settled (£ million) 
 
7.6 
The figures above exclude the 2,000 or so PTSD claims (146 of which were received 
during the reporting period) that formed the PTSD Group Action which concluded earlier this 
year (see para 4.10) 
 
 
26

SECTION EIGHT 
 
SERVICE PERSONNEL EMPLOYMENT TRIBUNAL CLAIMS 
 
“Common sense is the best sense I know of” – Lord Chesterfield 1694 - 1773 
 
8.1 
Employment Tribunals (ETs) provide a forum in which most legal disputes between 
employer and employee are resolved. They are intended to be relatively informal without the 
absolute need for lawyers to be present. Legal aid is not available for representation at ETs, but 
some applicants do receive financial and legal assistance in bringing their claims from 
organisations such as the Equal Opportunities Commission or the Commission for Racial 
Equality.   
 
8.2 
Claims brought typically involve allegations of unfair dismissal, sexual/racial 
discrimination or sexual/racial harassment. Whilst the single Service secretariat branches will 
initially receive and investigate ET applications, they have no delegated financial authority to 
settle them and claims can only be settled by obtaining the agreement of DC&L(F&S)Claims 
who hold funds centrally. This arrangement does have obvious deficiencies in the efficient 
management of ET cases and it has therefore been agreed between all concerned that as from 1 
April 2003 DC&L(F&S)Claims will disaggregate the ET budget (compensation and in- house 
legal costs) to the respective single Service secretariat branches. They will then be able to 
commit departmental funds in the settlement of ET claims, based on their own judgment and 
legal advice, without any reference to DC&L(F&S)Claims.    
 
8.3 
For future information on ET expenditure within each Service, contact should be made 
with the respective single Service secretariat branch, namely, Royal Navy  - NPSec(Law)2, 
Army - APC(Litigation ),  Royal Air Force  - AMP(Sec)ET.   
 
8.4 
Exceptionally, because of their tri-Service nature, DC&L(F&S) will retain financial and 
policy oversight responsibility for the outstanding Homosexual dismissal ET cases. The single 
Service secretariat branches will however still retain secretariat responsibility for these claims.       
 
120
£800,000
£700,000
90
£600,000
£500,000
60
£400,000
£300,000
30
£200,000
£100,000
0
£0
00/01
01/02
02/03
00/01
01/02
02/03
Claims received
Compensation Paid
Claims settled
 
 
 
2000/01 
2001/02 
2002/03 
Number of claims received  
99 
96 
55 
Number of claims settled  
26 
11 
22 
Compensation paid (£) 
666,000 
216,000 
672,000 
 
 
 
27

8.5 
It is to be noted that the figure of 22 cases settled during the last financial year, at a cost 
of £672,000, includes five “Homosexual dismissal” cases where the European Court of Human 
Rights awarded compensation totalling £370,860. A previous tranche of similar cases were 
settled after determination by the European Court of Human Rights during financial year 
2000/2001.    
 
8.6 
Employment Tribunal Applications made by the Department’s civilian employees are 
handled and settled by the appropriate Civilian Personnel Management Authority.  There is no 
DC&L(F&S)Claims involvement with such claims.  
 
HOMOSEXUAL DISMISSAL CLAIMS  
 
8.7 
The question of compensation for those Service personnel discharged from the Services 
as a result of their homosexuality continues to be closely linked, and has to a degree been 
overtaken by events, with the case of  MacDonald -v- Ministry of Defence.  Mr MacDonald was 
a serving Flight Lieutenant, whose resignation from the RAF was compulsory effected in 1997 
because of his voluntary declaration of homosexuality.  He lost a claim at a full hearing at an 
Employment Tribunal (ET) that he had been discriminated against unlawfully on grounds of 
sex, contrary to the Equal Treatment Directive and Section 6 of the Sex Discrimination Act 
1975. Following the ET ruling Mr MacDonald took his case to the Employment Appeals 
Tribunal (EAT). The hearing took place in September 2000 and the EAT found in favour of Mr 
MacDonald. They found that Mr MacDonald had been discriminated against in terms of the Sex 
Discrimination Act 1975 and had been subjected to sexual harassment. As a result he would be 
entitled to compensation in both respects and the matter was remitted back  to the Employment 
Tribunal to consider compensation.  Mr MacDonald claims a very large sum in compensation..   
 
8.8 
The judgment of the EAT was radical in that it overturned the previously accepted 
interpretation of the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 that the  word “sex” should be interpreted to 
include not just gender but also sexual orientation. It was decided that this judgment should be 
challenged and the appeal was heard before the Inner Court of the Court of Session in January 
2002 which ruled in favour of the Ministry of Defence and ordered that the decision of the 
Employment Tribunal be restored.  Mr MacDonald was, however, given leave to take this matter 
to the House of Lords.  The House of Lords considered this matter on 23 and 24 January 2003, 
and the ir Lordships’ written judgment is expected shortly.*  
 
8.9 
The Employment Tribunal recognised the importance of the Macdonald case in relation 
to other homosexual litigation involving the Ministry of Defence at a Directions Hearing in 
January 2002 when it agreed to a stay in proceedings in this group of cases pending the appeal 
to the House of Lords.   
 
*  The Law Lords handed down a unanimous judgment on 19 June 2003 in favour of the 
Ministry of Defence. 
  
 
 
 
 
28

SECTION NINE 
 
AREA CLAIMS OFFICERS 
 
 
AREA CLAIMS OFFICE  BALKANS
 
 
9.1 
Claims handling in the Balkans underwent another organisational change towards the 
end of Financial Year 2002/03 to reflect the reduction of forces deployed in Kosovo.  The Area 
Claims Officer (ACO) post moved from Kosovo to Bosnia and is now pan-Balkans, with 
responsibility for Claims arising in Bosnia, Croatia, Macedonia and Kosovo. 
 
CLAIMS OFFICE BOSNIA 
 
9.2 
Approximately half of the claims submitted are the result of road traffic accidents and 
associated injuries, with most claims arising during the winter months. Other claims include 
those for property damage, often arising as a consequence of weapon confiscation or search 
operations. 
 
750
£320,000
600
£240,000
450
£160,000
300
150
£80,000
0
£0
00/01
01/02
02/03
00/01
01/02
02/03
Claims received
Amount paid
Claims settled
 
 
 
2000/01 
2001/02 
2002/03 
Number of claims received 
288 
160 
126 
Number of claims settled 
578 
140 
87 
Amount paid (£) 
265,000 
174,000 
106,000 
Amount recovered (£) 
Nil 
Nil 
Nil 
 
 
CLAIMS OFFICE KOSOVO 
 
9.3 
The KFOR Theatre Claims Policy document is still in draft form but in common with 
other Troop Contributing Nations, the Claims Office in Kosovo has continued to investigate, 
settle or repudiate claims as they are submitted.  The office now also deals with claims arising in 
Macedonia. 
 
9.4 
The highest proportion of claims in Kosovo have been for property damage arising from 
military activity, with a significant proportion of the remainder being a consequence of road 
traffic accidents. 
 
29

350
£60,000
280
£45,000
210
£30,000
140
70
£15,000
0
£0
00/01
01/02
02/03
00/01
01/02
02/03
Claims received
Amount paid
Claims settled
 
      
 
2000/01 
2001/02 
2002/03 
Number of claims received 

310 
102* 
Number of claims settled 

196 
30 
Amount paid (£) 

49,000 
28,000 
Amount recovered (£) 

459 
Nil 
 
* Includes 2 claims submitted from Macedonia. 
 
 
AREA CLAIMS OFFICE  FALKLAND ISLANDS 
 
9.5 
The Area Claims Officer in the Falkland Islands has authority to handle Common Law 
damage claims up to a value of £5000 per claim, through the Command Secretary British Forces 
Falkland Islands.  
 
9.6 
In the last Financial Year the majority of claims handled have been for third party 
damages as a result of vehicle accidents. One claim received during this period was from a 
Service person who was injured when a Land Rover, which he had hitched a lift in, 
overturned. This claim has not been settled. Another claim was for damage to a portacabin, 
which occurred when Service personnel were loading it on to a ship in the Falkland Islands.   
 
9.7 
There have been no recoveries made during this period. 
 
20
£50,000
15
£40,000
£30,000
10
£20,000
5
£10,000
0
£0
00/01
01/02
02/03
00/01
01/02
02/03
Claims received
Amount paid
Claims settled
 
 
 
2000/01 
2001/02 
2002/03 
Number of claims received 

17 

Number of claims settled 



Amount paid (£) 
3,500 
44,800 
1,400 
 
 
30

AREA CLAIMS OFFICE  NORTHERN  IRELAND 
 

 
9.8 
The ACO is based at HQ Northern Ireland and deals with common law claims for and 
against the Ministry of Defence in Northern Ireland.   It also acts as a focal point for civilian 
employee claims. 
 
9.9 
The continuation of the ceasefire has seen a corresponding fall in the number of claims 
received as a result of low flying helicopters. There were several successful prosecutions during 
the  year by the Department of Public Prosecutions for fraud against the Ministry of Defence in 
relation to helicopter claims. A farmer’s wife received a 12 month suspended jail sentence and a 
veterinary surgeon who supplied false certificates received a 15 month jail sentence and was 
subsequently “struck off” by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. 
 
9.10 
Although the number of claims is lower than those received during the previous year, the 
total compensation paid out was higher. This was due to several high value personal injury cases 
being settled during the year. The highest of these was a settlement of £250,000 to an ex-
policeman. 
 
1000
£1,500,000
750
£1,000,000
500
£500,000
250
0
£0
00/01
01/02
02/03
00/01
01/02
02/03
Claims received
Claims settled
Claims repudiated
Amount paid
 
 
 
2000/01 
2001/02 
2002/03 
Number of claims received 
832 
625 
533 
Number of claims settled 
747 
538 
438 
Number of claims repudiated 
212 
65 
47 
Amount paid (£) 
1,210,000 
820,000 
1,123,000 
 
 
AREA CLAIMS OFFICE  NORTH  WEST  EUROPE 
 
9.11 
ACO (NWE) is part of the Civil Secretariat, United Kingdom Support Command 
(Germany) based at JHQ Rheindahlen.  It is responsible for handling claims by and against the 
Ministry of Defence in Germany, Norway, Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, 
Switzerland, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic. The Area Claims Office has 10 civilian 
staff processing and handling claims. 
 
EMERGENCE OF THE N EW CLAIMS SETTLEMENT ORGANISATION 
 
9.12 
The Defence Costs Offices who were the Host State agency tasked with the 
responsibility of processing Sending State claims in Germany transferred all functions 
concerning claims settlement to a new organisation at Federal level.  This represented a 
 
31

considerable change to the relationships and experience that had been developed over the last 
half century. 
 
9.13 
Throughout the transference Claims staff were involved in discussions with the new 
organisation and representatives from the Federal government to ensure that the previous high 
levels of service are maintained.  
 
RISK MANAGEMENT 
 
9.14 
The Risk Management Group has issued letters on Snow and Ice Plans and Cellar 
Flooding to all Garrisons within Germany.  These represent just two of the areas where claims 
might arise during the winter months. Other areas that give rise to claims are due to be 
highlighted during the coming year.  A programme of presentations to  the Safety, Health, 
Environment and Fire (SHEF) meetings across Germany on the subject of Personal Injury began 
in January 03 and is continuing throughout the year.  These presentations stress the need for 
improved evidence gathering and how important it is that we adhere to the Personal Injury 
Protocol. 
 
1400
£2,000,000
1120
£1,500,000
840
£1,000,000
560
280
£500,000
0
£0
00/01
01/02
02/03
00/01
01/02
02/03
Claims received
Amount paid
Claims settled
 
 
 
2000/01 
2001/02 
2002/03 
Number of claims received 
1158 
798 
860 
Number of claims settled 
1208 
984 
988 
Amount paid (£) 
1,528,000 
1,800,000 
1,219,000 
Amount Recovered (£) 
1,008,000 
427,300 
471,000 
 
 
9.15 
The increase of claims during this period can largely be attributed to the redeployment of 
troops back from Ex Saif Sareea II to theatres in Germany.  Conversely, a fall in the number of 
claims is expected next year because of the large number of troops deploying from Germany to 
Op Telic. 
 
9.16 
Although the number of claims received has increased, the expenditure on claims has 
reduced by approximately 30%.  This is due mainly to the greater involvement of case officers 
visiting incident scenes and the improved awareness of our stakeholders in the need to gather 
evidence, enabling case officers to repudiate or to settle a claim in a more timely fashion, 
thereby reducing costs.   
 
9.17 
The level of recoveries of Ministry of Defence losses was up in 2002/03 compared with 
last year due to the receipt of one long running case amounting to € 160,000.  This level is also 
 
32

expected to increase in 2003/04 due to recent improvements made to the recovery procedures 
and visits to various stakeholders in order to gain a greater understanding from them.  
 
 
AREA CLAIMS OFFICE  CYPRUS 
 
9.18 
ACO Cyprus comprises two members of staff who are responsible for processing claims 
by and against the Ministry of Defence in the Sovereign Base Areas Administration in Cyprus 
and its territorial waters.  The range of claims dealt with is similar to that of ACO NW Europe 
(road traffic accidents, public and employer’s liability, and training and manoeuvre damage), but 
the Cyprus Treaty of Establishment (ToE) rather than the NATO Status of Forces Agreement 
applies. 
 
9.19 
The Cypriot climate and terrain provide excellent training opportunities for the British 
forces, both in the air and on the ground.  Most of this takes place on private land under rights 
granted by the ToE.  Consequently a good deal of ACO’s work involves settling training and 
manoeuvre damage claims arising from the activities of our forces, whether the resident 
battalions and squadrons or those visiting from UK.  These claims are predominantly for crop 
damage and loss of livestock, which may sustain injury or abortion if panicked by helicopters, 
pyrotechnics, etc. In providing a rapid response to the claims and complaints raised by farmers 
and landowners, ACO plays a significant role in maintaining good relations between the 
Ministry of Defence and the local community, a vital ingredient in supporting UK’s training 
rights. 
 
9.20 
ACO seeks to reduce the risk of damage being caused and to that end routinely briefs all 
exercise reconnaissance officers prior to training taking place.  Nevertheless, the last financial 
year has seen another rise in training and manoeuvre damage claims received, although actual 
expenditure under this head has fallen.  The increase in activity is due in no small part to the 
intensive training in the weeks leading up to, and indeed during, the war against Iraq. 
 
9.21 
A sharp rise has also been observed in employer’s and public liability claims 
expenditure, although much of this can be accounted for by one personal injury claim which 
settled at £155,000 and one of misrepresentation which settled for £50,000.  
 
500
£500,000
400
£400,000
300
£300,000
200
£200,000
100
£100,000
0
£0
00/01
01/02
02/03
00/01
01/02
02/03
Claims received
Claims settled
Amount paid
 
 
 
 
2000/01 
2001/02 
2002/03 
Number of claims received 
312 
458 
407 
Number of claims settled 
326 
388 
337 
Amount paid (£) 
134,000 
282,000 
446,000 
 
33

SECTION TEN 
 
INSURANCE AND INDEMNITIES 
 
“A judge is a law student who marks his own examination paper” 
H L Mencken 1880 – 1956 
 
INSURANCE 
 
10.1 
Treasury guidelines generally discourage public bodies from insuring risks unless it can 
be shown that the potential costs of claims paid, together with the cost of handling such claims, 
will exceed the cost of purchasing insurance.  As the costs of premiums compared to the 
amounts paid in compensation would normally favour insurance companies, the Ministry of 
Defence self- insures its core activities. 
 
10.2 
Claims branch takes the policy lead on all Ministry of Defence non-contractual insurance 
issues and encourages units and establishments to transfer risks arising from non-core activities 
away from the Department. 
 
10.3 
Willis (Aerospace) provide insurance, which is self- financing, for four specific non-core 
aviation risks: 
 
Military aircraft attendance at air displays 
 
Civil Use of Military airfields 
 
Search and Rescue training with civilian organisations 
 
Fare paying passengers on military aircraft 
 
INDEMNITIES  
 
10.4 
Claims branch is responsible for all non-contractual indemnity matters, ranging from 
issuing indemnities to land owners who are letting the Armed Forces use their land for exercises 
to commenting on different clauses within Defence Estates licenses, indemnity provisions 
within MOUs and other international agreements. 
 
10.5 
The Ministry of Defence always seeks an indemnity against claims arising from 
activities or events that are not considered to be core business, or when activities or events do 
not further the interests of the Department. Examples include participation by Service personnel 
or Ministry of Defence civilian staff in non-core fund raising or social activities, work 
experience for students over the age of 16, or the use of Ministry of Defence personnel or 
equipment by other organisations for activities which have no direct benefit to the Ministry of 
Defence.  The Ministry of Defence must seek an indemnity in such instances as there is no 
provision in the Defence Estimates to meet claims which are no t defence related.  Indemnities 
must be backed by insurance or a guarantee for those companies/organisations that self- insure.  
The only exceptions to the requirement for indemnity are when the Ministry of Defence is 
dealing with other Government Departments.  This is because of the principle of indivisibility of 
the Crown. 
 
34

10.6 
Claims branch issued around 87 indemnities in 2002/2003 and commented on a similar 
number of other indemnity issues.   
 
10.7 
Indemnities that arise from the Department’s contractual business are the responsibility 
of the appropriate Commercial Branch, with policy guidance provided by the Defence 
Procurement Agency (Central Services Group, General Conditions). 
 
WIDER MARKETS 
 
10.8 
Income-generating activity under the Government’s initiative for Selling Government 
Services into Wider Markets is also an exception to the rule that the Ministry of Defence does 
not purchase insurance.   Budget holders undertaking this work need to carry out a full risk 
analysis and to consider whether it wo uld be more cost effective for the Department as a whole 
to purchase insurance or to bear the risk of having to pay compensation directly from its current 
expenditure. 
 
10.9 
Advice about insurance and risk reduction may be obtained from Claims branch and 
from the Ministry of Defence’s insurance brokers, Willis Ltd, in accordance with DCI Gen 
301/02.  Willis have created a specialised package of insurance policies offering a full range of 
business insurances for Budget Holders undertaking income-generating activity. 
 

 
35

SECTION ELEVEN 
 
NOVEL AND CONTENTIOUS CASES 
 
“What power has law where only money rules” Gaius Petronius 66AD 
 
 
KENYAN  GROUP  ACTION 
  
11.1 
In July 2002, 233 compensation claims on behalf of Kenyan nomadic tribespeople for 
personal injury or death were settled by the Ministry of Defence for £4.5 million on a limited 
liability basis (the claimants were seeking £18 million in damages). The claims, all from 
members of the Samburu and Masai tribes, related to injuries or death caused by Unexploded 
Ordnance (UXO) allegedly left by HM Forces on three training areas in the north of Kenya, 
namely Mpala Farm, Archers Post and Dol Dol, that subsequently detonated, in many cases a 
considerable number of  years later.  The claimants’ case for compensation centred on the 
allegation that the British Army, who has been using training areas in Kenya for many years, 
had done little to protect the local tribes people from the UXOs. 
 
11.2 
UK Solicitors acting for the claimants issued legal proceedings against the Ministry of 
Defence in 10 lead cases, with the intention of relying on the Judge’s rulings in each of these 
cases to be binding on similar non- lead cases.  However, in an effort to move matters forward 
without the costs associated with the traditional method of resolving such cases in Court, and in 
line with the route favoured by the Lord Chancellor in such cases, the claims were settled on a 
limited liability basis by way of mediation.   
 
11.3 
Since the settlement of these claims, more than 5,000 new Kenyan claimants have come 
forward attempting to bring similar cases against the Ministry of Defence. These claims are 
being thoroughly investigated.   
 
AIRCRAFT  NOISE 
 
11.4 
The owners of Walcott Hall, a Grade I Listed Building built in 1678, and situated 2.3 
miles from the eastern end of the runway at RAF Wittering, successfully pursued a 
compensation claim against the Ministry of Defence during the reporting year. 
 
11.5 
It was the Claimants’ contention that the noise generated by the Harrier aircraft based at 
RAF  Wittering constituted a nuisance that gave rise to a claim for compensation under the 
Human Rights Act.  The compensation claimed was based on the alleged diminution in capital 
value of the property; an alleged diminution in the rental value of the property; and on the 
inability of the owners to exploit the property for commercial activities such as business 
conferences, filming and other leisure activities. 
 
11.6 
The Ministry of Defence argued that RAF Wittering had been an operational RAF 
station since 1916 and that RAF operations have been a well-established part of the character of 
the area.  The Harrier in particular has been in service there since 1969, before the current 
occupants of Walcott Hall took up residence.  It was argued therefore that this amounted to a 
reasonable use of the air station.   
 
 
36

11.7 
Despite attempts by the Ministry of Defence to settle the case out of court, the offers 
were not accepted and the matter went to trial on 10 March 2003 where a judge heard the case. 
In his judgment, handed down on 16 April 2003, the Judge recognised that public interest 
clearly demanded that RAF Wittering must continue to train RAF Harrier pilots, and as such he 
did not impose any restrictions on the flying activities there.  However, he ruled that the noise 
from the Harriers did constitute a nuisance to the Claimants, and that they should be 
compensated for the nuisance. The Judge therefore awarded damages in the amount of £950,000 
for past and future loss of amenity, past and future loss of use, and loss of capital value. 
 
POLLUTION OF  TROUT  FARM   
 
11.8 
The owners of a ‘trout farm’ initiated a compensation claim against the Ministry of 
Defence following the oil pollution of their farm located at the side of the River Wylye, in 
Bishopstrow, in August 1997.  The claimants alleged that the pollution had occurred as a result 
of Army personnel at a nearby Army barracks draining waste from their military vehicles onto 
hardstanding at the barracks washdown facility.  This waste was then discharged via the drain 
system into the River Wylye and then into some of their fish ponds that take their water supply 
from the river.   A subsequent Board of Inquiry confirmed that the pollution of the River Wylye 
had originated from the washdown facility in the barracks. 
 
11.9 
The trout farm owners claimed that they suffered serious financial loss as a result of the 
pollution, which had resulted in the loss of much of their fish stock.  They were therefore 
seeking compensation for their loss, as well as the cost of cleaning up the pollution.  The claim 
was settled for £300,000 in May 02 by way of mediation.  
 
BACK INJURY     
 
11.10  The Claimant injured his back falling down a flight of stairs in Portsmouth. Following 
the incident, the Claimant experienced difficulties in the lumbar, thoracic and cervical regions of 
his back. It was claimed that the injury subsequently led to chronic pain syndrome and a claim 
for compensation in excess of £800,000 was made, principally upon the basis that the Claimant 
could no longer take up highly paid employment after leaving the Navy and was in fact unable 
to seek any form of employment following his injury. 
 
11.11  The Ministry of Defence accepted liability for the actual incident but the exact nature of 
the incident and the true level of injury were in dispute. The claim was nevertheless heading for 
a prospective high value settlement when, in an attempt to bolster the claim and confirm their 
valuation of quantum, the opposing solicitors sought further medical evidence. Their expert in 
back pain and pain management suggested that the incident was not in fact the cause of the 
Claimant’s problems and furthermore that that the minor injury caused by the incident should 
have resolved in a short space of time. The claim that was initially valued at  £800,000 
subsequently settled for £5,000. 
 
OIL INGESTION 
 
11.12  The Claimant was on a night exercise in Cyprus and returned to a safe area for 
refreshments. He picked up an unlabelled bottle placed next to the tea urns and believed the 
contents to be blackcurrant juice. He proceeded to gulp down the liquid in the bottle only to 
realise he had been drinking gun oil. It seemed surprising that he did not notice that the contents 
of the bottle did not smell or taste anything like blackcurrant juice before taking a hefty gulp. 
Following service of our Defence the Claimant decided to abandon the claim. 
 
37

SLIP INJURY 
 
11.13  The Claimant was a vehicle instructor at an Army camp. He was advised that there had 
been a diesel spillage, and decided to demonstrate to the soldiers present how diesel spreads in 
water by standing on the spillage and then in a puddle of water. Some while later he climbed 
into his vehicle by way of a metal flight of stairs affixed to the rear. Whilst descending the stairs 
he slipped and fell, landing heavily on his hand and fracturing several bones. Investigations 
showed that the Claimant was not wearing appropriate footwear. The claim was repudiated on 
the basis of the footwear, and on his own foolhardy actions with regard to deliberately standing 
in the diesel. The solicitors responded that the Claimant had subsequently discovered that the 
steps were faulty and that he had been mistaken when he completed the accident report book in 
thinking that the diesel was to blame. A photograph was produced which clearly showed a fault 
in the steps, but on further investigation it was found that these steps are detachable and there 
was nothing to say that they were the ones used on this vehicle. The claim was successfully 
repudiated. 
 
DEPENDENCY CLAIM 
 
11.14  The Claimant was the widower of a former Ministry of Defence civilian worker at 
Donnington in Shropshire. He brought a ‘dependency’ claim against the Ministry of Defence 
alleging that his wife’s death from mesothelioma was attributable to fires which occurred in the 
building in which she worked in 1983 and 1988. It was accepted that there was asbestos in the 
roof at the time of each fire, and legal proceedings were issued against the Ministry of Defence. 
However, the Claimant’s solicitors produced no satisfactory evidence, and the claim valued in 
the region of £112,000 was subsequently discontinued. 
 
CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE  
 
11.15  In 1993 a claim for compensation was received from the parents of a 7-year-old boy who 
was born at the RAF Wegberg hospital, Germany in 1986. It was claimed that due to negligent 
medical treatment at the time of his birth the child’s heart stopped for 20 minutes and he needed 
to be resuscitated.   As a result the child suffered severe brain damage and now suffers from 
cerebral palsy. The child who lives at home with his parents is of average intelligence and is 
severely physically handicapped.   
 
11.16  Numerous expert medical reports were obtained to clarify the extent of the Ministry of 
Defence’s negligence.  Liability was admitted by the Ministry of Defence in 2000. Reports were 
subsequently obtained from experts in the fields of Paediatrics, Physiotherapy, Occupational 
Therapy, Nursing Care, Accommodation, Communication Aids, Speech Therapy & Life 
Expectancy to place an accurate valuation on this claim.  
 
11.17  Once all the expert evidence was considered the claimant’s schedule of loss was received 
in 2002 which valued this claim at £4.5 million. The claim was subsequently settled on an 
amicable basis for £3.275 million in June 2002 at a counsel-to-counsel settlement conference.    
   
 
38

CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE  
 
11.18  A claim for compensation was received by a soldier arising from surgery performed in 
October 1997.  Following investigations for problems with his right leg a derotational osteotomy 
of the right femur was recommended by Ministry of Defence doctors.  There was little pre-
operative investigation by Ministry of Defence medical staff and a locum doctor employed by 
the local NHS Trust negligently performed the surgery. The claimant was left with his right leg 
grossly externally rotated.  This led to his medical discharge from the Army.     
 
11.19  This claim was brought against both the Ministry of Defence and also the NHS Trust. On 
the basis of the medical evidence available and legal advice obtained, liability was conceded 
fairly early with apportionment of liability agreed at 80% (NHS Trust) and 20% (MOD).   
 
11.20  A “without prejudice” settlement meeting was held in early September 2002 attended by 
each side’s legal representatives.  Agreement was not reached as the claimant was seeking a 
level of compensation  (£950,000) which both the Ministry of Defence and the Trust could not 
accept.     
 
11.21  Negotiations did however continue and eventually an out of court amicable settlement 
was reached at £900,000 in October 2002. The Ministry of Defence’s share of this settlement 
was £180,000.     
 
CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE  
 
11.22  A claim was received from a former member of HM Forces who alleged that there had 
been a delay by Service medical staff in diagnosing a malignant melanoma on the nape of his 
neck by some 15 months resulting in his life expectancy being severely curtailed.  The 
claimant’s medical evidence suggested that had he undergone a neck dissection without delay 
his chances of surviving 5 years would have been around 30% rather then the 10% chance he 
had of surviving 5 years from July 2000. 
 
11.23  Liability was conceded on medical and legal advice and both parties agreed to seek to 
settle this claim through mediation.  The claimant sought compensation of £900,000. A 
mediation meeting was arranged for 12 December 2002 where, after negotiation, the claimant 
agreed to accept £500,000 compensation.     
 
EMPLOYMENT  TRIBUNAL 
 
11.24  A female ex RAF pilot made a formal complaint to an Employment Tribunal of sexual 
harassment and discrimination whilst serving at her station in the United Kingdom. The premise 
of the applicant’s case was that the alleged harassment and her subsequent suspension from 
flying, effectively led to the undermining of the relationship and trust between employer and 
employee and, as a result, she was compelled to seek Premature Voluntary Retirement. 
Consequently, the applicant’s claim reflected not only the injury to her feelings but the alleged 
loss of her RAF career and also the flying opportunities that might have resulted after leaving 
the Services.  
 
11.25  This claim made by the applicant exceeded £500,000 and represented the largest sexual 
discrimination claim ever brought against the Department. The Ministry of Defence conceded 
some elements of the claim but attempts to achieve an amicable out of court settlement on terms 
fair and reasonable to both the applicant and the taxpayer were rejected.  
 
39

 
11.26  The case was heard at Croydon Employment Tribunal on 27 January 2003 and ran for 
three weeks, during which various witnesses for both parties gave evidence. The Tribunal only 
managed to ‘part-hear’ this case and the hearing re-convened in May 2003, with a written 
judgment expected later in the year.  
  
EMPLOYMENT  TRIBUNAL  
  
11.27  An Employment Tribunal claim was received from a female naval rating who claimed 
sex discrimination and unfair dismissal over the circumstances of her dismissal from the Royal 
Navy after only two days in service. After a medical examination, it  is alleged she was told that 
she was not be fit for service as she had previously suffered an ectopic pregnancy and should 
she become pregnant again whilst serving on board ship at sea complications could arise, and 
the Royal Navy would not have the facilities to afford her proper treatment.  
 
11.28  The applicant initially claimed in excess of £255,000 in compensation. A two-day 
hearing before the Employment Tribunal was scheduled and Treasury Solicitor suggested a 
token award of compensation should be offe red to conclude matters. By this stage the applicant 
had lowered her compensation claim to £10,000. DC&L(F&S) refused the suggestion of making 
a token compensation award, arguing that no offer of compensation should be made as there was 
no evidence to suggest that the Royal Navy had sexually discriminated against the applicant.   
 
11.29  Eventually this case proceeded to a full hearing at the Employment Tribunal but the 
applicant failed to attend and the Chairman had no hesitation in dismissing the claim.    
Exceptionally, the Tribunal awarded costs in the Ministry of Defence’s favour of £5,000, which 
the Ministry of Defence is still actively pursuing with the applicant.     
 
ROAD  TRAFFIC  ACCIDENT    
  
11.30   A claim for compensation was received from a claimant for anxiety, distress, shock and 
PTSD he allegedly had suffered when he accidentally knocked down and killed a TA soldier.     
The claimant alleged that the TA soldier, who was taking part in an exercise, was standing in the 
middle of the road and was not wearing any reflective clothing. 
 
11.31  Investigations revealed that although the soldier was not wearing any reflective clothing, 
and that the area was quite dark, it was likely that the claimant did not have his car headlights 
on.   It also transpired, that the claimant had been checking on a friend’s garage that had 
previously been broken into and may have been concentrating on the garage instead of looking 
at the road. 
 
11.32  The Ministry of Defence admitted partial liability but alleged 80% negligence by the 
claimant.   An inquest into the soldier’s death recorded a verdict of accidental death and no 
charges were brought against the claimant. 
 
11.33  The Ministry of Defence also received dependency claims from solicitors acting on 
behalf of the soldier’s three young children and issued proceedings.  As two of the children were 
resident in Germany, their claims were assessed under German law which resulted in a lower 
valuation of quantum than for the child resident in the UK. 
 
11.34  The original claim against the Ministry of Defence  (i.e. from the driver of the vehicle) 
settled at £3,000 on the basis of a 70/30 split in favour of the Ministry of Defence.   The 
 
40

claimant was, however, ordered to contribute £7,500 towards the Ministry of Defence’s costs in 
relation to the claims from the soldier’s children.  Their case settled, before trial, with the 
childrens’ representatives accepting settlement, also on a 70/30 split in liability in the Ministry 
of Defence’s favour, of £37,500.   
 
 
 
41

SECTION TWELVE 
 
LAW AND PRACTICE 
 
“Justice is the constant and perpetual will to allot every man his due” 
Domitius Ulpian 170AD – 228AD 
 
 
CIVIL JUSTICE REFORMS 
 
12.1 
This part of the Annual Report deals with civil law and practice.  It includes a brief 
summary of the 1999 Civil Justice Reforms.  Although these reforms have been in place for 
some time now, we believe it is important to recapitulate the main aims and procedures, to serve 
both as a reminder for regular readers of these reports and as a simple digest for those unfamiliar 
with the subject. 
 
CIVIL JUSTICE  PROCEDURES  
 
12.2 
The greatest upheaval ever in the Civil Litigation process occurred when the New Civil 
Procedure Rules were introduced on 26 April 1999. The Rules, which replaced the existing High 
Court and County  Court Rules, have significantly changed the way common law claims are 
handled, in an attempt to speed up, simplify and make the whole process less expensive. The 
Rules, which include pre-action protocols, govern the conduct of litigation and encourage the 
appointment of a single expert to provide an independent opinion. 
 
12.3 
The overriding objective of the rules is to enable the court to deal with cases justly in 
ways which are proportionate to the amount of money involved, the importance and complexity 
of the case, and to the parties’ financial position.  
 
AIMS 
 
12.4 
Litigation will be avoided wherever possible 
 
 
Litigation will be less adversarial and more co-operative 
 
 
Litigation will be less complex 
 
 
The timescale of litigation will be shorter and more certain 
 
 
Parties will be on a more equal footing 
 
There will be clear lines of judicial and administrative responsibility for the civil justice 
system 
 
The structure of the courts and the deployment of judges will be designed to meet the 
needs of litigants 
 
Judges will be employed effectively so that they can manage litigation in accordance 
with the new rules and protocols 
The civil courts system will be responsive to the needs of litigants   
 
42

 
12.5 
In keeping with the reforms the Courts have continued to take a pro-active approach to 
case management, setting down directions which decide the order in which issues are to be 
resolved and fixing timetables to control the progress of the case. In addition, they encourage the 
parties to co-operate and consider  adopting other methods of settlement such as alternative 
dispute resolution.  
 
12.6 
Proportionality plays an important part in the new system and the courts will consider 
whether the potential benefit of taking a particular step justifies the cost. 
 
EXPERTS 
 
12.7 
In the majority of cases a single expert will be instructed and evidence, assuming the 
case proceeds to court, will normally be in the form of a written report. The Defendant and 
Claimant may submit written questions to the expert and both sides will see the expert’s 
response. If the parties to an action cannot agree upon an expert witness they may instruct their 
own choice of expert but, if the court decided that either party has acted unreasonably, they will 
not be able to recover the costs of obtaining the expert report. 
 
PRE ACTION PROTOCOL 
 
12.8 
Lord Woolf in his final ‘Access to Justice’ report of July 1996 recommended the 
development of pre-action protocols: “To build on and increase the benefits of early but 
informed settlement that genuinely satisfy both parties to dispute.” The Lord Chancellor 
strengthened this message in the Foreword of the New Civil Procedures Rules when he stated 
“We must not forget, however, that we should see litigation as the last resort and not the first 
resort in the attempt to settle the dispute”.  
 
12.9 
A number of pre-action protocols, including ones for personal injury cases and clinical 
negligence, have now been published. Eventually all types of litigation will be categorised and, 
if appropriate, pre-action protocols developed. 
 
12.10  The aims of the pre-action protocol are to promote more pre-action contact between the 
parties, better exchange of information, better pre-action investigation and thereby to put the 
parties in a position to settle cases fairly and early, reducing the need for litigation.    
 
12.11  If defendants are unable to comply with the pre-action protocols the courts will have the 
power to impose sanctions due to non-compliance when proceedings are commenced.  Sanctions 
will likely include a refusal to grant further extensions of time for serving a defence or evidence 
and costs penalties. 
 
FAST-TRACK AND MULTI-TRACK 
 
12.12  Personal injury claims will be assigned to either a fast-track or multi- track. 
 
12.13  Fast-track cases will be limited to a  value up to £15,000 and will proceed to a hearing 
quickly. 
 
12.14  There will be an automatic timetable for compliance with the various stages of the 
litigation. The hearings are designed to be relatively short and in the majority of fast-track cases 
written evidence only from a single expert will be accepted. 
 
43

 
12.15  Multi-track cases will generally involve claims with a value in excess of £15,000 or 
which feature complex issues. Case management by the courts will play an important part in 
setting the timescales for certain stages of the case and defendants may possibly be required to 
attend a case conference before a judge, when decisions will be made as to the future conduct of 
the claim. 
 
12.16  The personal injury pre-action protocol (primarily designed fo r cases with a value of less 
than £15,000) sets out the following stages: 
 
LETTER OF CLAIM 
 
12.17  The letter of claim will contain a clear summary of the facts on which the claim is based, 
including allegations of negligence, and will include details of any injuries suffered or financial 
losses incurred.  
 
DEFENDANT’S REPLY 
 
12.18  The defendant should acknowledge within 21 calendar days of the date of posting of the 
letter of claim in Personal Injury cases and 14 calendar days in Clinical Negligence cases. 
 
CLAIM INVESTIGATION 
 
12.19  The defendant will have a maximum of three months from the date of acknowledgement 
of the claim to investigate.  No later than at the end of that period the defendant must inform the 
Claimant or their legal representative whether liability is admitted in full, denied or there is a 
partial admission.  If the defendant denies liability they should enclose with the letter of reply 
documents which are material to the issues between the parties, and which would be likely to be 
ordered to be disclosed by the court. If a defendant is unable to comply with the requirements of 
the pre-action protocol, the Claimant will be able to issue proceedings at the end of the three-
month period. 
 
12.20  If the defendant makes a proper denial of liability giving the detailed explanation and 
documents required under the protocol, many cases will proceed no further. In such cases it will 
be for the Claimant to make a decision whether to proceed with the case. 
 
12.21  Defendants will no longer be able to delay making a decision as to whether to settle or 
fight and they will no longer be able to make a simple blanket denial of liability without giving 
reasons. 
 
PROCEEDINGS  
 
12.22  There will be a strict timetable for dealing with the Defence. In the majority of cases the 
time limit will be 28 days after proceedings are served. One extension of time may be granted, 
although in circumstances where the defendant has failed to comply with the pre-action 
protocol, it is very unlikely that any extension will be given. 
 
12.23  The Defence must also fulfil new requirements under the rules. The new requirements 
are as follows: 
 
the Defence must state which facts are admitted; 
 
44

 
the Defence must state which facts are denied and provide supporting documentary 
evidence; 
 
the Defence must state the defendant’s own version of events; and  
 
the Defence must identify which facts the defendant is unable to admit or deny and 
which the Claimant is required to prove. 
 
STATEMENT OF  TRUTH 
 
12.24  Under the new rules a statement of truth must verify the Defence.  The form of the 
statement is as follows: 
 
“The defendant believes that the facts stated in this defence are true.” 
 
12.25  The statement is not sworn, but must be signed by: 
 
a senior officer of the company, corporation or organisation; 
 
a partner in control of a business; or 
 
a legal representative. 
 
12.26  The person signing the statement of truth must identify his or her office or position in the 
organisation.  It follows that the person signing must have authority to sign on behalf of the 
organisation.  If a legal representative signs, he or she is deemed to have explained the 
consequences to the defendant and the penalties are the same as if the defendant had signed. 
 
12.27  A person who signs without honest belief in the truth of the Defence is guilty of 
contempt of court.  In an extreme case this could result in a fine or even a prison sentence for the 
person who approved the contents of the Defence and authorised its signature. 
 
12.28  It follows that in future solicitors will always ask the defendant either to sign the 
Defence or to approve the contents of the Defence before signing on the defendant’s behalf. 
 
12.29  If the Defence is not signed the court will strike it out and the defendant will lose his or 
her opportunity to defend the claim. 
 
12.30  Bearing in mind the tight time schedules, the Department will need to be in a position to 
deal with the Defence quickly. In the case of claims against the Ministry of Defence the 
appropriate persons to sign the Statement of Truth or  verify the Defence will be the Chief 
Claims Officer or the Senior Claims Officer. 
 
DISCLOSURE  
 
12.31  The new Civil Procedure Rules specify the type of documents which the defendant must 
disclose and set time limits for doing so. Many of these documents will have been disclosed 
under the pre-action protocol: i.e. within the initial three- month period for investigation. 
 
12.32  Under the new rule, standard documents to be disclosed include: 
 
45

 
all documents which could adversely affect the case;  
 
all documents which could adversely affect the other side’s case; and 
 
 
all documents which could support the other party’s case. 
 
12.33  A defendant is required to make a reasonable search for documents depending on: 
 
the significance of the document; 
 
the number of documents; 
 
the complexity of the case; and  
 
the ease and expense of retrieval. 
 
DISCLOSURE STATEMENT 
 
12.34  The list of documents which is sent to the other side will include a disclosure statement 
containing the following information: 
 
the identity of the person making the statement; 
 
the extent of the search that has been made to trace documents; 
 
why the person signing the statement is the appropriate person; 
 
confirmation that he or she understands the duty to disclose; and 
 
confirmation that that duty  has been carried out to the best of his or her ability. 
 
 
12.35  There will clearly be an onus on the defendant to make sure that the documents can be 
obtained quickly and that they are up-to-date. The person who signs the disclosure statement or 
who authorises the solicitor to sign it on the defendant’s behalf, must understand his or her duty 
and have the appropriate authority within the organisation. 
 
WAY  FORWARD 
 
12.36  The implementation of the reforms involved a massive change in working practices. At 
the outset, and indeed some time before the changes took place, Claims officials undertook 
additional specialist training to ensure they would comply with the new rules.  Updating and 
refresher courses and workshops have been undertaken during the last year.  The acquisition of 
new and specialist skills has been recognised by the introduction of the Claims & Legal 
Functional Competence Framework.    
 
12.37  Units and Establishments have also become aware of how the new protocols and rules 
operate. Claims officials will continue to work closely with and remind Units and 
Establishments of their duties to co-operate in supplying information and assisting in defence of 
claims.  
 
 
46

12.38  Accidents must be reported promptly and accurately with improvements made to 
document handling and availability. 
 
12.39  Witnesses must be identified and made available for interview early in the claims 
process.  Similarly, defendants will need to be able to identify and find relevant documents. 
 
12.40  The courts will not be sympathetic to the Department arguing that there has been 
insufficient time to investigate a claim. Neither will the courts deem the Department to be a 
special case because of its size, widespread locations or deployment of key witnesses overseas.  
 
LEGAL SERVICES COMMISSION (LEGAL  AID) 
 
12.41  It is over fifty years since the Legal Aid and Advice Act was enacted. For the first time, 
it gave access to justice to a range of people who beforehand could not afford to bring a case in 
criminal or civil law. Eligibility for  legal aid depended on the Applicant’s disposable income 
and capital but anecdotal evidence is plentiful about how legal aid was wrongly or rightly 
distributed and it therefore came as no surprise that Legal Aid for personal injury claims was 
abolished in April 2000. The majority of such claims are now likely to be the subject of a 
conditional fee whereby a  Claimant’s solicitor can uplift his normal charging rate by 100% if 
successful (providing the success fee does not exceed more than 25% of the total comp ensation). 
 
12.42  Conditional fees can cause problems for Claims officials when trying to estimate the 
legal costs element of settling a claim. One method of overcoming this problem is to ask the 
Claimant’s solicitor to clarify the basis of funding the costs together with an indication of the 
success fee agreed. However, as the Rules stand, solicitors are not obliged to provide this 
information to the Defendant and to do so might give an indication of the strength of their 
client’s case. In many cases, therefore, the level of the success fee will not be known until after 
the case has settled. 
 
12.43  In these cases there will be a far greater opportunity to recover our legal costs because as 
part of the conditional fee arrangements a Claimant will likely take out insurance to protect 
against the risk of losing the action and to provide an indemnity for the defendant’s legal costs.  
It will therefore be our practice, and the practice of our commercial claims handlers, to pursue 
Claimant’s with conditional fee arrangements for our costs in the event that we are successful in 
defence of the claim 
 
12.44  The Lord Chancellor’s Department recently announced that they would review whether 
the Conditional Fee Arrangement regime can be simplified 
 
ALTERNATIVE  DISPUTE  RESOLUTION AND COUNSEL-TO-COUNSEL 
CONFERENCES 
 
 
12.45  Alternative Dispute Resolution/mediation is considered in cases where there is some 
evidence to support a claim of negligence.  In cases where there is currently no evidence it is not 
deemed appropriate. 
 
COUNSEL-TO-COUNSEL SETTLEMENT CONFERENCES  
 
12.46  In cases where liability is not an issue, counsel-to-counsel settlement conferences are an 
innovative and financially attractive way of settling cases without going to trial or settling at the 
 
47

courtroom door. A round table consultation is arranged with the Department represented by 
counsel, the Chief Claims Officer or Senior Claims Officer and Treasury Solicitor. This method 
of negotiated settlement has had a significant effect on the way claims are handled due to the 
Claimant and defendant showing an element of goodwill combined with a realistic approach. 
This has demonstrated that it is possible to agree a settlement without recourse to the courts. An 
added benefit is that the Claimant does not need to undergo the trauma of a court case to secure 
compensation for an injury or loss caused by the Department’s negligence. 
  
12.47  In 2002/03, for example, 10 such conferences were held and compensation totalling 
£10.5 million was agreed against claims totalling £13.8 million.  Had these cases run to court, 
the legal costs payable by the Ministry of Defence would have been significantly higher.  
 
MEDIATION 
 
12.48  Mediation is a route strongly favoured by the Lord Chancellor as the way forward for 
civil justice in the UK, for cases where there is some evidence to support a claim. However in 
cases where there is currently no evidence to support a claim, mediation would not be 
appropriate. The Department is signed up to mediation as a method of Alternative Dispute 
Resolution, but as the Lord Chancellor’s Department’s Press Notice on the subject makes clear, 
Alternative Dispute Resolution is not appropriate in every case.     
 
12.49  The mediation process employs an independent person (the mediator) to facilitate 
negotiations between parties in a dispute in an effort to reach a mutually accepted resolution. 
The process is voluntary, flexible, confidential and non-binding, and can be entered into and 
terminated at the discretion of either party.   
 
12.50  During 2002/03, 4 such meetings took place, and it is anticipated that the number of such 
methods of settlement will increase in future years. 
 
THIRD PARTY ACCIDENT SCHEME (TOPAS) 
  
12.51  If Ministry of Defence civil servants or Service personnel are injured by a third party 
while on duty it is the individual's own responsibility to pursue a claim for compensation 
without any assistance or involvement by the Department.  The only exception to this has been 
that civil servants injured in road traffic accidents can have their legal costs underwritten by 
their TLB. This arrangement does not, however, apply to Service personnel or to civil servants 
injured in other circumstances.   
 
12.52  Although on the face of it the policy seems harsh, it is consistent with the approach 
adopted  by many large private sector companies. The reason why the Ministry of Defence 
cannot support staff in such circumstances is that the Ministry of Defence, in common with all 
other government departments, may only pay compensation, or become involved in pur suing 
claims, where it has a legal liability to do so.  Any other policy would involve the misuse of 
public funds and the making of subjective judgements which could give rise to inequitable 
treatment of Claimants. Under common law the Ministry of Defence  has no standing or 
vicarious liability in these cases and it does not have the authority to pay compensation to such 
Claimants nor to fund the cost of legal action on their behalf.    
 
12.53  In order to relieve concerns expressed by Ministry of Defence staff (both Service and 
civilian), the Third Party Accident Scheme  -ToPaS  -  was devised to provide no expense legal 
assistance to staff in the UK who are able to contact the ToPaS solicitors direct and obtain 
 
48

immediate advice and assistance to pursue a claim on a conditional fee basis (so-called no win, 
no fee).  The scheme is operated by Betesh Fox & Company, a firm of solicitors which 
specialises in personal injury claims. 
 
12.54  The scheme is promoted extensively across Ministry of Defence establishments by way 
of posters, leaflets, newsletters and also via a dedicated website at www.topas.org.uk.  A current 
marketing campaign is underway to explore new opportunities and methods of promoting the 
scheme further, and to encourage personnel to advise the solicitors running the ToPaS scheme 
about accidents within 5 days of them occurring. 
 
DOES TOPAS WORK? 
 
12.55  The ToPaS scheme has helped many hundreds of Service personnel and Ministry of 
Defence employees since its inception.  Many of these people were injured in a variety of 
accidents, some of which have been serious, such as the case of Mr X, which is outlined below.  
 
12.56  Mr X, formally serving in the Grenadier Guards, was involved in a serious road traffic 
accident on 6 October 2001, while he was travelling as a back seat passenger in a Landrover 
with 3 other soldiers on the A11 in Cambridgeshire. Mr X sustained serious head injuries as a 
result of the accident, leading to his medical discharge from the Army.     
 
12.57  The accident occurred as a result of a motorist leaving his stationary vehicle unattended 
on the outside lane of the A11.  Another driver collided with the parked vehicle, which in turn 
collided with the Landrover, causing it to spin and turn over two or three times.  Mr X was 
thrown about inside the Landrover and ended up in the road sustaining serious head injuries.   
The other 3 soldiers travelling in the Landrover also suffered injuries.  
 
12.58  Mr X subsequently contacted the ToPaS solicitors, Betesh Fox & Co, and his case was 
accepted.  Advice and support was immediately offered to Mr X and his family in regard to 
pursuing substantial compensation against the driver responsible for the accident.  Although his 
case has still to concluded, ToPaS solicitors have helped secure a formal admission of liability 
from the person responsible for the accident, as well as assistance in securing an interim 
compensation payment of £140,000 for Mr X to buy a home now that he has left the Army. His 
overall compensation claim will include loss of earnings (as he is unlikely to work again) and 
substantial care. It is anticipated that his total compensation will be in excess of £1 million and 
will take about another year to conclude. ToPaS is also assisting the 3 othe r soldiers who were 
injured in the same accident.   
 
 
12.59  ToPaS can be contacted on:   
Telephone 

0870 998 9000 
Fax   
 

0870 998 9100 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Website 

www.ToPaS.org.uk 
e-mail   

xxxxx@xxxxxxxxx.xx.xx 
 
49

 
ANNEX A 
 
DC&L(F&S)CLAIMS - ORGANISATION 
 
 
CHIEF CLAI MS OFFICER - BAND B1 
 
SENIOR CLAIMS OFFICER (CLAIMS HANDLING) - BAND C1 
 
Responsible for Employer’s Liability Group, Public Liability Group and Clinical 
Negligence/Employment Tribunals Group 
 
SENIOR CLAIMS OFFICER (POLICY, FINANCE AND RISK MANAGEMENT) - BAND C1 
 
Responsible for Policy & Finance Group and Risk Management Group 
 
 
POLICY & FINANCE  GROUP 
 
STAFF:
 
 
 
Indemnities & Insurance Adviser  
Band D 
Assistant Adviser Indemnities & Insurance   Band E1 
Policy & Contracts Adviser  
Band D 
Motor Transport Liabilities Adviser  
Band D 
Budget Manager  
Band D 
Budget Officer  
Band E1 
2 Payments Co-ordinators 
 
Band E2 
Focal Point Manager  
Band E1 
2 Focal Point Administrators  
Band E2 
 
RESPONSIBILITIES : 
 
 
FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT 
Budget management and financial planning for DC&L(F&S) and the financial management of 
C&L(F&S)Claims. 
 
NON-CONTRACTUAL INSURANCE 
Non-contractual insurance (principally non-core aviation risks), including liaison with Ministry 
of Defence’s insurance brokers, indemnities and the claims aspects of MOUs 
 
THIRD PARTY MOTOR CLAIMS 
Policy relating to third party motor claims and liaison with AXA Corporate Solution Services 
Ltd. 
 
REGULATIONAL CLAIMS POLICY 
Policy for Regulational claims, which are those received from employees for loss of or damage 
to personal property in the course of their employment.  The payment of claims is the 
responsibility of the TLB in which the employee works. 
 
50

DIRECTORATE ADMINISTRATION 
Claims co-ordination and Focal Point (i.e. Registry functions). 
 
CONTRACTUAL MATTERS 
Liaison with contractors working for D C&L(F&S) and the Ministry of Defence’s commercial 
branch on contractual issues. 
 
 
EMPLOYER’S LIABILITY GROUP
 
 
STAFF: 
 
 
Team Leader 
Band C2 
3 Case Managers  
Band D 
3 Assistant Case Managers  
Band E1 
1 Part-time Assistant Case Manager 
Band E1 
1 Section Administrator 
Band E2 
 
RESPONSIBILITIES : 
 
 
SERVICE PERSONNEL EMP LOYER'S LIABILITY CLAIMS  
Handling of Service personnel and ex-Service personnel employer's liability claims received 
before 1 July 1996 and managing the contract with Royal and Sun Alliance which has dealt with 
this type of claim since 1 July 1996. 
 
 
CIVILIAN PERSONNEL EMPLOYER 'S LIABILITY CLAIMS  
Managing the contracts with AXA which deals with claims of this type notified before 1 May 
2002 and with Royal and Sun Alliance which deals with claims of this type notified on or after 1 
May 2002. 
 
 
SECTION 10 CLAIMS  
Claims from members of the Armed Forces barred by Section 10 of the Crown Proceedings Act 
1947. 
 
 
RADIATION CLAIMS    
Claims for compensation due to illness alleged to have been caused by exposure to radiation, 
including Nuclear Test Veterans. 
 
 
MISCELLANEOUS CLAIMS  
 
 
Miscellaneous claims from Service and ex-Service personnel including defective enlistment, 
false prosecution, unlawful detention. 
 
 
 
LOW FLYING 
Claims relating to military low flying activity in England, Scotland and Wales. 
 
 
MARITIME CLAIMS  
Maritime claims including accidents, salvage, collisions and damage to fishing gear. 
 
 
 

 
51

PUBLIC LIABILITY GROUP 
 
STAFF: 
 
Team Leader 
Band C2 
3 Case Managers  
Band D 
4 Assistant Case Manager  
Band E1 
1 Section Administrator  
Band E2 
 
RESPONSIBILITIES :  
 
PUBLIC LIABILITY CLAIMS 
Public liability claims, including personal injury, and property damage.  
 
VISITING  FORCES  
Claims against visiting forces in the UK (under Section 9 of the Visiting Forces Act 1952 and 
Article VIII of the NATO Status of Forces Agreement). 
 
NORTHERN IRELAND CLAIMS  
Politically sensitive claims from members of the public arising from the activities of the Armed 
Forces in Northern Ireland. These range from unlawful detention to shootings. 
 
VEHICLE CLAIMS  
Privately owned vehicle damage claims and RTAs overseas in countries not covered by an Area 
Claims Officer. 
  
OVERSEAS OPERATIONS 
Claims policy relating to overseas operations and advice to Area Claims Officers in Northern 
Ireland and overseas. 
 
EX-GRATIA PAYMENTS 
Responsible for ex-gratia payments, including the human volunteer research no-fault 
compensation schemes. 
 
CRIMINAL INJURIES COMPENSATION 
Responsible for criminal injuries compensation claims from Ministry of Defence Civil Servants’ 
dependants based overseas. 
 
NON-MARITIME RECOVERIES  
Recovery of Ministry of Defence's uninsured financial losses, excluding those arising from 
traffic accidents in the UK. 
 
52

CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE  GROUP    
 
STAFF:
 
 
 
Team Leader 
Band C2 
3 Case Managers  
Band D 
1 Assistant Case Manager  
Band E1 
 
 
RESPONSIBILITIES :  
 
CLINICAL N EGLIGENCE
 
Claims for compensation where it is alleged that the Ministry of Defence has acted negligently.  
 
EMPLOYMENT TRIBUNALS  
Co-ordination of the Ministry of Defence's response to claims put to Employment Tribunals by 
current and former Service personnel. 
 
GULF VETERANS’ ILLNESS   
Potential claims for alleged Gulf War illness. 
 
POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER  
Claims from Service and ex-Service personnel alleging failure of the Ministry of Defence to 
recognise, diagnose and treat their PTSD. 
 
 
RISK MANAGEMENT GROUP 
 
STAFF: 
 

Team Leader 
Band C2 
1 Risk Policy Adviser 
Band D 
1 Risk & IT Manager 
Band D 
1 Assistant Adviser Risk & IT  
Band E1 
 
RESPONSIBILITIES : 
 
RISK MANAGEMENT 
Development and implementation of a Risk Management strategy to identify the circumstances 
which give rise to claims for compensation and to devise ways of reducing the causes of 
incidents. Secretariat to the Cla ims Risk Management Working Group. Risk management 
statistics. Claims and risk presentations 
 
INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY SYSTEMS  
DC&L(F&S)Claims information technology (IT) systems (CHOTS, RM database, RAPID, and 
CHASP). 
 
 
 
53

DC&L(F&S)CLAIMS STAFF, PROGRAMME AND OPERATING 
COSTS - FINANCIAL YEAR 2002/03 
 
 
COSTS  
 
 
 
  
 
 
 
OPERATING COSTS 
- 
£1.6 million 
 
 
 
PROGRAMME  COSTS   
- 
£102.4 million (compensation, legal costs, experts fees, etc.) 
 
 
 
RECEIPTS 
-  £6 million 
 
 
 
TOTAL COSTS 

£98 million 
                                      
 
DC&L(F&S) STAFFING AS AT  31 MARCH 2003 
 

GRADE 
ESTABLISHED POSTS 
ROLE 
B1 

Chief Claims Officer 
C1 

Senior Claims Officer 
C2 

Team Leaders 

14 
8 Claims Managers 
1 Budget Manager 
1 Policy & Contracts Adviser 
1 Insurance and Indemnities Adviser 
1 Risk Policy Adviser 
1 Risk & IT Manager 
1 Motor Tpt Liabilities Adviser 
E1 
10 
6 Assistant Claims Managers 
1 Asst Risk & IT Adviser 
1 Budget Officer 
1 Asst Adviser Indemnities & Insurance 
1 Focal Point Leader 
E2 

2 Payments Co-ordinators 
2 Section Administrators  
2 Focal Point Administrators 
 
 
54

ANNEX B 
 
TOP 20 CASES SETTLED BY DC&L(F&S)CLAIMS 2002/03 
 
 

CLAIMANT 
TYPE OF INJURY/LOSS 
COMPENSATION* 
Army   
233 claimants injured or killed by unexploded        £4,500,000 
ordinance in Kenya. 
Civilian  
Negligence during childbirth. 
      £3,600,000 
Army     
Fractured spine resulting in paralysis sustained in a 
Road Traffic Accident. 
      £2,300,000 
Army   
 
Failure to treat and diagnose peripheral vascular 
disease. 
      £600,000 
Civilian – Child 
Negligence at birth causing deafness. 
      £600,000 
RAF   
 
Failure to diagnose a malignant melanoma. 
      £500,000 
Severe head injury as a result of being run over by 
Army   
    
      £475,000 
vehicle. 
Received facial injuries on impact when driving a 
Army 
      £418,000 
tank.  
Severe head injuries sustained in a Road Traffic 
Army 
      £410,000 
Accident. 
Army 
Clinical negligence resulting in damaged disc. 
      £400,000 
Army 
Delay in diagnosing illness causing blindness. 
   
      £391,000 
Army 
Clinical negligence resulting in damaged nerves. 
      £364,000 
Civilian   
Claimant injured in helicopter crash. 
      £340,000 
Civilian 
 
Oil pollution from barracks washdown facility.  
 
      £330,000 
Navy   
 
Claimant hit by ships anchor. 
      £315,000 
Serious head injuries sustained in a motorcycle 
Army      
      £310,000 
accident.  
Army   
 
Clinical negligence during Haemangioma operation. 
      £252,000 
Salvage claim by two commercial tugs that provided 
Navy   
      £242,500 
assistance to HM ship that had run aground. 
Army 
Clinical negligence resulting in hearing loss. 
      £235,000 
Navy   
 
Clinical negligent treatment of fractured femur. 
      £229,000 
 * Excluding Legal fees 
 
55

ANNEX C 
 
 
 
TOP 10 CASES SETTLED BY RSA 2002/03 
SERVICE PERSONNEL 
 
 
 
 

 
 
TYPE OF INJURY/LOSS 
COMPENSATION 
 
 
 
 
 
Head injury sustained in Road Traffic Accident 
                   £1,389,000 
 
 
 
Back injury falling down poorly maintained steps 
                  £1,305,000 
 
 
 
Back injury falling from abseiling rope 
                  £1,233,000 
 
 
 
Fatality in helicopter crash 
                  £630,000 
 
 
 
Fatality in helicopter crash 
                  £617,000 
 
 
 
Solvent exposure 
                  £571,000 
 
 
 
Injured following Road Traffic Accident 
                  £527,000 
 
 
 
Killed following aircraft crash 
                  £520,000 
 
 
 
Killed following  Road Traffic Accident  
                  £419,000 
 
 
 
Parachute accident 
                  £369,000 
 
 
 
 

 
56

ANNEX D 
 
 
 

TOP 10 CASES SETTLED BY AXA 2002/2003 
CIVILIAN PERSONNEL 
 
 
 
 
 
TYPE OF INJURY/LOSS 
COMPENSATION 
 
 
 
 
 
Leg amputation/explosion 
£1,325,000 
 
 
 
 
Drowned/hit by propeller 
£638,000 
 
 
 
Asbestos related disease 
£317,000 
 
 
 
Asbestos related disease 
£262,000 
 
 
 
Asbestos related disease 
£201,000 
 
 
 
Asbestos related disease 
£181,000 
 
 
 
Asbestos related disease 
£175,000 
 
 
 
Asbestos related disease 
£172,000 
 
 
 
Asbestos related disease 
£170,000 
 
 
 
 
Head injury 
£169,000 
 
 
 
57

ANNEX E  
 
SERVICE PERSONNEL PERSONAL INJURY CLAIMS HANDLED 
BY RSA CURRENTLY ACTIVE OR SETTLED WITHIN  
THE LAST 5 YEARS 
 
 

CAUSE 
ACTIVE 
SETTLED 
TOTAL  VALUE 
 
 
  
 
Abseil 


    £1,712,000  
Accident at Sea 
29 
28 
    £5,687,000  
Aircraft Accident 
36 
25 
    £14,409,000  
Animal Attacks 


    £60,000 
Assault 
19 
19 
    £1,146,000  
Boots - Bad Fit 


    £283,000 
Bullying/Harassment 
30 

    £1,785,000  
Cycling  
10 
13 
    £438,000 
Diving/jumping into water 


    £4,117,000  
Electric Shock 


    £278,000 
Explosion 
25 
37 
    £1,747,000  
Exposure (hot, cold, chemicals etc)  48 
43 
    £6,308,000  
Fall - General 
66 
57 
    £5,404,000  
Fall - Hole or Trench 
16 
21 
    £606,000 
Fall - Manhole 
13 
11 
    £534,000  
Fall From Bed 


    £51,000  
Fall from Horse 


    £691,000  
Fall from Ladder 

10 
    £963,000  
Fall From Vehicle 
27 
27 
    £495,000  
Fall from Window 


    £534,000  
Fire 


    £782,000  
Food Poisoning 


    £46,000 
Gun 
48 
28 
    £3,951,000  
Hearing Loss/Damage 
89 
42 
    £2,642,000  
Injury in Hospital 


    £208,000 
Lifting/Handling 
88 
68 
    £6,179,000  
No Code 
43 
94 
    £1,472,000  
Other 
52 
66 
    £3,202,000  
Paintball 


    £172,000 
Parachuting 
21 
12 
    £4,448,000  
PTSD 


    £632,000 
Racial Abuse 


    £172,000  
 
58

RSI 


    £603,000  
Sexual Assault 


    £233,000  
Slip 
97 
71 
    £2,729,000  
Sport 
69 
57 
    £6,406,000  
Steps & Stairs 
36 
29 
    £2,132,000  
Stress 


    £322,000 
Struck By 
135 
119 
    £6,996,000  
Suicide 


    £57,000 
Training - General 
60 
55 
    £12,638,000  
Training - Assault Course 
34 
17 
    £10,790,000  
Training - Climbing 
12 

    £3,365,000 
Training - Marching 


    £94,000 
Training - Public Order 
29 
26 
    £914,000  
Training - Running 
11 

    £299,000  
Trapped Body Part 
40 
36 
    £3,715,000  
Trip 
48 
32 
    £1,588,000  
Vehicle Accidents 
315 
441 
    £44,680,000  
Vibration White Finger 


    £77,800  
Wire (razor or barbed wire) 


    £88,000  
 
 
 
 
 TOTAL 
1641 
1565 
    £168,880,800  
 
59

DISTRIBUTION LIST 
 
APS/Secretary of State  
AD IRU 
APS/Minister(AF) 
AD2 CEDU 
APS/Minister(DP) 
D CP HRM 
APS/USofS 
D CP PA 
Parliamentary Branch 
AD CP Allowances 
 
D CB(Pers) 
DPSO/CDS 
D CPM 1 
PS/VCDS 
D CPM 2 
CNS 
 
CGS 
DGMO 
CAS 
DGS&S 
CDL 
DGRP 
 
D P&A 
DCDS (C) 
DG Info 
DCDS (EC) 
DGCC 
DCDS (Pers) 
DCCS 
DCDS (Pers) BMU 
DCC(N) 
DCDL 
DCC(A) 
 
DCC(RAF) 
CinC Fleet 
 
CinC Naval Home Command 
MOD Legal Adviser 
CinC Land 
JAF 
AG 
JAG 
GOC NI 
CNJA 
AOCinC(STC) 
DALS 
AOCinC(PTC) 
DLS(RAF) 
CJO 
DGNPSP 
CE/DPA 
DPS(A) 
 
COS/AMP 
PS/PUS 
 
PS/2nd PUS 
Hd NP Sec 
PS/CSA 
Hd NMA Sec 
Policy Director 
APC Secretariat (2 copies) 
Personnel Director 
APC (Litigation) 
Finance Director 
Hd AMP Sec 
Science & Technology Director 
PMA (CS) (RAF) 
 
PM(N) 
DG SP (Pol) 
PM(A) 
D SP Pol(P&W) 
 
D SP Pol(Man) 
D SEF (Pol) 
D SP Pol(MW) 
CESO(Navy) 
D SP Pol(PA) 
CESO(Army) 
D SP Pol(SC) 
CESO(RAF) 
 
Ship Safety Management Office 
DGCP 
H&S FOSF 
D CP Pol 
 
D CP ER 
Hd of GVIU 
 
GVIU 1 
 
60

D Fin Pol 
CE/DCSA 
D RP(Centre) 
CE/DDA 
D Navy RP 
CE/DE 
D Army RP 
CE/DGIA 
D Air RP 
CE/DHE 
DCDS(Health)  (2 copies) 
CE/DISC 
SGD AD BM 
CE/DMTO 
Medical Director General (Navy) – SO1 
CE/DSA 
AMD(Navy) 
CE/DSCA 
AMD (Med Leg) (2 copies) 
CE/DSDA 
AMD (Legal) (RAF) 
CE/DSTL 
Med Org 2(RAF) 
CE/DTMA 
SO1 Prev Med UKSC(G) 
CE/DVA 
 
CE/HO 
CIVSEC/HQNI 
CE/JARIC 
CS/HQ UKSC(G) 
CE/MSA 
CS HQ BF Cyprus 
CE/Met O 
CS HQ BFFI 
CE/MDPA 
CS/Gib 
CE/NMA 
Hd Def Ad min (BDSW) 
CE/NRTA 
 
CE/PPA 
Area Claims Officer NI 
CE/RAF PMA 
Area Claims Officer North West Europe 
CE/SCE 
Area Claims Officer Cyprus 
CE/TGDA 
Area Claims Officer Kosovo 
CE/WSA 
Claims Officer Falkland Islands 
 
 
AD SC Ops(Tpt)4 
Command Secretary Fleet 
SC Ops(Tpt)4d 
Command Secretary Naval Home Command 
SC Ops(Tpt)4d1 
Command Secretary Land 
SC Ops(Tpt)4d2 
Command Secretary AG 
SC Ops(Tpt)4d3 
Command Secretary Strike Command 
SC Ops(Tpt)4d4 
Command Secretary PTC 
WSA/620 
Civil Secretary PJHQ 
HQ Land Lo g Spt (Tpt) 
DG Resources DLO 
HQ STC S&M Pol 3e 
DG Resources DPA 
HQNI CSS(Tpt) 
DG Commercial DPA 
HQ BFC J4(Tpt & Mov) 
 
CSV (IPT) 
CE/ABRO 
LAIT RO2A 
CE/ABSDA 
DTMA Bus Tvl Man (Sfc) 
CE/AFPAA 
HQRM WO1d 
CE/APC 
Command Master Driver HQ LAND 
CE/ATRA 
Command Master Driver HQNI  
CE/BFPO 
Master Driver HQ 2 SE Brigade 
CE/DAC 
Master Driver HQ 49 Inf Brigade 
CE/DASA 
SO3 Log Sp Catterick Garrison 
CE/DARA 
OC Log Sp Unit Colchester 
CE/DBA 
TCWO HQ 42 Brigade 
Queen Victoria School 
PMA CS1b 
Duke of York’s Military School 
Centre for Human Science, QinetiQ  
1A (OPS&SP)5 
S4(F) Sqn 
 
61

PASF 
RLC Training group 
H&S Office, RAF St Mawgan 
Chambers of: 
2c Aviation branch 
Robert Jay QC (5 copies) 
H(P&P)2c Legal 
Ian Burnett QC (5 copies) 
Stones Troop RLC 
Philip Havers QC (5 copies) 
Hd Corporate Governance 
Stephen Irwin QC (5 copies) 
SHSO, High Wycombe 
Association Of Personal Injury Lawyers 
D P&S/SO1 Clin Gov 
(5 copies) 
TQM, 33 Engineer Regiment EOD 
Beachcroft Wansbough Solicitors 
DCOS 
Berryman Lace Mawer Solicitors 
Finance Director, 3Group 
Merricks Solicitors 
SO2 Training, Bentley Priory 
Morgan Cole Solicitors 
CB Fin Sec 
Prettys Solicitors 
S&W/DSMT 
Vizards Staples & Bannisters Solicitors 
WLSNO, 339 Assault Sqn RM 
Lockharts Solicitors 
  
  
Prison Service 
 
Home Office 
MOD Library 
  
House of Lords Library 
Treasury Solicitor (5 copies) 
House of Commons Library 
T Sol - Head of MOD Litigation 
 
Morton Fraser Solicitors (2 copies) 
AXA Corporate Solutions Services (UK) Ltd 
Crown Solicitor (3 copies) 
Royal & SunAlliance plc (4 copies) 
 
Willis Ltd 
Royal British Legion (3 copies) 
Betesh Fox & Co 
 
 
HM Treasury – DDI Team 
Iain Duncan-Smith MP 
CE/NHS Litigation Authority 
 
Health & Safety Executive 
Charles Kennedy MP 
 
 
Chairman - CCSU 
All DC&L(F&S) staff 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
62

Document Outline