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Armed Forces: War Pensions

Volume 707: debated on Tuesday 10 February 2009


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Taylor of Bolton on 12 January (WA 84) which indicated that there were “no current plans to seek a time limitation on claims for a war pension”, whether the “preliminary trial on limitation due to commence at the High Court on 19 January 2009” referred to by Mr Kevan Jones MP in his written answer to Mr Nick Harvey MP on 9 December 2008 (Official Report, House of Commons, col. 56W) will not now take place. [HL624]

The two issues are completely separate and unrelated.

My Answer refers to claims for a war pension, under the terms of the war pension scheme, which pays no-fault compensation in the form of tax-free pensions and allowances for ex-service personnel injured as a result of their service. There are no time limits for making a claim under the war pension scheme.

The Written Answer in another place on 9 December 2008 (Official Report, House of Commons, col. 56W) by Mr Kevan Jones refers to a preliminary trial at the High Court, which commenced on 21 January 2009, in relation to a common-law claim for compensation brought by a group of veterans and deceased veterans' dependants or beneficiaries, of the UK's nuclear weapon testing programme. The normal limitation period for personal injury claims is three years from the date the claimant first became aware of the injury, or the cause of the injury.

The purpose of the trial is to assess whether it is fair for the Ministry of Defence to have to continue to defend the claims given the length of time that has elapsed since the tests.