Select Committee on Chinook ZD 576 Written Evidence

Further written evidence

Ministry of Defence (selected submissions only)

Letter from the Office of the Minister of State for Defence Procurement

  Thank you for your e-mail of yesterday.

  You asked about the legal basis for the actions of the RAF Board of Inquiry and the RAF Flight Safety Manual AP3207. I attach a copy of the relevant section extant at the time of the crash. You may be aware that different considerations now apply in so far as Boards of Inquiry no longer attribute negligence. If you require a copy of the current AP3207, please let me know.

  AP3207 is published "By Command of the Defence Council", and Board of Inquiry procedure is governed by statutory rules made under Section 135 of the Air Force Act (AFA), known as the Board of Inquiry (Air Force) Rules, 1956. The Rules are reproduced in Queen's Regulations (RAF), Appendix 35, and procedures are amplified in Queen's Regulations (RAF), Chapter 17.

  On the issue of judicial review I confirm that it is the Ministry of Defence's understanding that the Board's findings could have been subject to judicial review, but the timeframe for this has now passed.

  We are not aware of any serious suggestion to bring this matter before the Court of Human Rights at Strasbourg, although officials do recall this prospect being mentioned in passing by the media some time ago. This is not, however, a matter for the Ministry of Defence.

  Finally, it remains the position of the Ministry of Defence that it will co-operate fully with the committee once established, and now during its formation. If it would be helpful to you to meet officials in the Department and/or to receive a briefing, please let me know.

4 May 2001

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