Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill

Supplementary written evidence submitted by Ahmed Al-Nahhas, Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) (OOB12)

The Rt Hon David Mundell MP
Co-Chair
Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill Public Bill Committee

House of Commons

London
SW1A 0AA

Dear Mr Mundell

Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill


Thank you for the opportunity to provide evidence to the Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill Public Bill Committee. I hope members found my evidence helpful as the committee continues to scrutinise the Bill. During my evidence I offered to write to the committee on two points.

Kevan Jones asked about the availability of statistics related to claims made against the Ministry of Defence (MoD). Statistics on personal injury claims are included in a document published by the MoD, and which can be found here - https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/mod-common-law-compensation-claims-statistics-201819.

The figures which are published do not relate solely to personal injury claims, but to other claims, such as for property and vehicle damage. The claims marked as ‘public liability’ relate to claims made by civilians against the MoD, including claims relating to historic events in Iraq and Northern Ireland. The claims which my evidence was concerned with are marked as ‘employer’s liability’; these are personal injury claims brought against the MoD by its service personnel and/or civilian employees. These statistics are further broken down into different types of civil claim (on the basis of the circumstances or type of injury).

In the 2018/19 financial year, for example, there were 2,523 new employer liability claims. Of these, a large proportion relate to Noise-Induced Hearing Loss claims (1,810 claims in 2018/19) and Non-Freezing Cold Injury claims (158 in 2018/19). These are examples some of the claims that, as I referred to in my evidence, may be adversely affected by the Bill.

Peter Gibson asked about the number of cases made against the MoD in which compensation is recovered for service personnel, compared to the number of cases in which compensation is not recovered.

Unfortunately, because of the level of work involved to collate data on successful cases, we would be unable to provide the committee with any information in the short time available before the conclusion of committee stage. In any event, APIL’s membership includes lawyers from different law firms across the UK, and we do not hold information about the success rate of our individual members. Not all personal injury lawyers are members of APIL, and therefore any information we might be able to provide with more time available would not be representative of all claims made against the MoD.

Also, I was asked about my own success rate in recovering compensation. I have discussed this with colleagues within my law firm and, unfortunately, I am unable to provide any information because it would be commercially sensitive. However, I can say that in my experience the vast majority of civil claims made against the MoD settle.

Thank you, again, for the opportunity to give evidence. I hope the committee found APIL’s evidence helpful and I am happy and able to assist further if and when you wish.

Yours sincerely

Ahmed Al-Nahhas
Secretary, APIL Military Special Interest Group

October 2020

 

Prepared 21st October 2020