Nuclear veterans lose compensation battle
“I’m a big supporter of Britain and the British way of life but the bureaucracy of the MOD is a perfect example of how not to run anything.”
The veterans had been battling for permission to launch damages claims for some two years.
Although the judgement blocks most claims, a certain number can still proceed because of an earlier legal ruling.
The veterans took their fight to the Supreme Court – the highest court in the UK – in November after battles in the High Court and the Court of Appeal.
The appeal was rejected by Supreme Court justices by a majority of four-to-three.
Veterans blame ill-health – including cancer, skin defects and fertility problems – on their involvement in British nuclear tests in Australia, on Christmas Island and in the Pacific Ocean between 1952 and 1958.
The MoD acknowledges a “debt of gratitude” but denies negligence.
Judges expressed sympathy but concluded that veterans lacked evidence to prove links between illness and proximity to tests and said many claims had been made too late.
Lord Wilson, one of the judges who rejected the appeal, ruled that the actions had “no real prospect of success”.