Claims arose from the deaths of serving soldiers by the detonation of IEDs in which the soldiers were travelling. They claimed the MOD breached article two of the European Convention on Human Rights to take preventive measures to protect life in light of the risk to life of soldiers who were required to patrolling Snatch land rovers.
In June 2013 the Court held that the Claimants in relation to the Snatch Land Rover claims were within the UKs jurisdiction for the purposes of the European Convention on Human Rights at the time of their deaths and that their claims should not be struck out.
This decision has had serious implications for the issue of “Combat Immunity”.
The consequence of this decision has also affected claims in relation to hearing loss (in particular on operational duties).
Many claims for hearing loss which had been commenced in the Courts had been put on hold until the above decision had been handed down.
At present there are over forty claims which have been issued in the Courts in relation to deafness, some but not all relating to problems that arose whilst on operational duties.
We are aware that there are also many other claims relating to hearing loss being intimated with the MOD.
Because the Combat Immunity issues raised by the Snatch Land Rover cases has had direct implications on the deafness claims the Ministry of Defence have made an application to the transfer the substantial number of deafness claims to the High Court. Ostensibly so that the claims can be managed in one central location and to minimise the use of public funds.
More recently the MOD put forward a proposal of selecting representative “test” cases to be taken forward to a full trial on liability and quantum in the High Court to establish “important generic findings and principles which can then be applied to the stayed cases”.
This application is being rigorously opposed by the Claimant’s solicitors for the reasons that all the claims are different. Some being as a result of operational duties, others as a result of training exercises. Some due to single incidents and others due to exposure over a long period whilst others are due to lack of adequate hearing protection. Further, the Claimant’s solicitors feel it would be totally unfair for Claimants who are not included in the test cases to have to wait until the test cases have been resolved.
The application is to be heard in the High Court on 4th November 2013 and the result handed down shortly thereafter.