Taxpayers 'paying millions' to defend troops in human rights cases


Taxpayers face paying out millions to defend British soldiers being sued by enemies who claim their human rights have been breached, it has been reported.

Suspected Taliban bomb-makers and insurgents captured by British troops have begun legal action against the Government, according to the Sunday Telegraph.

More than 2,000 compensation claims and judicial review cases have been prepared by lawyers following the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the newspaper said.

Plans reportedly being drawn up in Whitehall, disclosed by senior figures to the newspaper, include pulling out of the European Convention, taking legal action against law firms that have brought "bogus" cases, new laws to allow the Government to recover the costs of judicial reviews, a time limit on legal action to stop compensation claims being made years later, and a new Bill of Rights. 

Since 2004 the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has spent £100 million on Iraq-related investigations and compensation, the newspaper said.

It added that MoD officials said £44 million had been set aside for further claims expected from human rights law firms acting for Iraqis between now and 2019.

A spokesman for the ministry told the paper: "The MoD is looking closely at this issue and as the Government's manifesto made clear, we will ensure our armed forces overseas are not subject to persistent legal claims that undermine their ability to do their job."