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Ex-Gratia Payments

Volume 130: debated on Tuesday 29 March 1988

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is his estimate of the likely cost of the ex-gratia payments that will now be made to service people who may have been disabled by negligence between 8 December 1986 and the coming into force of the Crown Proceedings (Armed Forces) Act 1987; from which departmental budget this money is coming; and under what authority these payments are made.

It is not possible, at this stage, to estimate the likely cost of ex-gratia payments to service personnel injured or disabled as a result of incidents between 8 December 1986 and the coming into force of the Crown Proceedings (Armed Forces) Act 1987. This is primarily because we cannot know what the eventual level and incidence of claims will be, but also because negotiations on the majority of those claims received so far are still at a relatively early stage. The cost of such ex-gratia payments, which are made in accordance with the answer given by my right hon. Friend on 8 December 1986, will be met from Defence votes.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what criteria are used to determine eligibility for ex-gratia payments that can now be paid to those disabled or injured through possible negligence between 8 December 1986 and the coming into force of the Crown Proceedings (Armed Forces) Act 1987; how many applications for these payments have been made; and how many payments have been made.

Such payments will be determined in a way comparable to the settlement out of court of common law claims for damages, each one being considered and assessed to establish whether death or injury occurred in circumstances involving some degree of negligence on the part of the Crown. To date 85 claims have been received, the majority of which remain under negotiation. Five payments have so far been made, including an interim settlement.