By: 30 June 2014

The Ministry of Defence's attempts to widen the scope of combat immunity "cannot be allowed to happen", according to Hilary Meredith, CEO of Hilary Meredith Solicitors.


In an address to the Scottish Parliament last week, Meredith said that the MoD wanted to widen a court decision over duty of care on the battlefield which could have disastrous consequences for the armed forces.


"At the moment the courts have ruled that in the heat of battle decision making skills can be impaired so no duty of care exists – which is a sensible approach," she said.


"However the Ministry of Defence wants to widen this to far beyond the heat of battle – in fact all the way to Whitehall to include bad procurement decisions to send ineffective or wrong equipment to areas of conflict.


"If the courts are not inclined to widen the concept, the Ministry of Defence is currently trying to persuade Parliament to enshrine the concept in Statute on the basis that law on the battlefield is interfering with effective operations.


"I believe this is totally incorrect," she added.


Meredith went on to tell MSPs that the MoD was trying to avoid responsibility and make officers scapegoats for matters such as faulty equipment and that there was also talk of bringing back crown immunity indefinitely, allowing for injury and death to go unreported.