BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific North Midlands/East West/South-West London/South North Midlands/East West/South-West London/South
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK: England  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Wednesday, 29 May, 2002, 14:26 GMT 15:26 UK
Veteran loses damages claim
Alan Matthews
Alan Matthews has vowed to fight on
Hundreds of ex-servicemen lost the chance to claim compensation for injuries from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) after a hearing at the Court of Appeal.

Three judges ruled on Wednesday on the case of Alan Matthews, from Devon, who had been suing the MoD over alleged asbestos exposure.

They overturned an earlier ruling from the High Court in January which opened the way for veterans to claim damages.

The appeal court rejected the claim that government immunity from such action was incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.


I am disappointed but the fight goes on

Alan Matthews

Mr Matthews, 64, claims he became ill from exposure to asbestos while serving in the Royal Navy between 1955 and 1968.

He scored a significant victory when the High Court ruled government immunity under the 1947 Crown Proceedings Act broke an individual's right to a fair hearing, part of the Human Rights Convention.

The Crown Proceedings Act meant if an individual died or was injured in the course of their duties, the Crown could not be sued if the Secretary of State certified the death or injury would be treated as attributable to service for the purposes of entitlement to a war pension.

The exception was removed in 1987, but its removal was not retrospective.

A veteran with a flag
The case could affect hundreds of veterans

Had the ruling stood, it was expected many former servicemen would have filed claims.

Mr Matthews's legal team reported contact from 60 people in a similar situation and thought hundreds more were awaiting this decision.

Mr Matthews said in a statement: "I am disappointed but the fight goes on, not just for me but for hundreds of others who have not been able to seek compensation.

"I have to live every day with the uncertainty of not knowing what is going to happen to my health.

"I want some recognition of that and someone to accept responsibility for what has happened to me."

The judges gave permission for the case to go to the House of Lords


Click here to go to Devon
See also:

04 Mar 02 | UK
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more England stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more England stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes