HL Deb 27 March 2002 vol 633 cc56-7WA
Lord Morris of Manchester

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What further consideration they are giving to the issue of compensation for ex-servicemen and women, in particular to those who fall foul of the rules of the criminal injuries compensation (overseas) scheme, as exemplified by the case of Sergeant Trevor Walker, Royal Engineers, who lost a leg while serving on peacekeeping duties in Bosnia and has been denied compensation for this injury under current rules. [HL3358]

Lord Bach

There are no plans to amend the criminal injuries compensation (overseas) (CIC(O)) scheme rules. This scheme exists to provide compensation for sevice personnel injured as a result of a criminal act while serving overseas. The CIC(O)'s provisions mirror those of the criminal injuries compensation schemes of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and thus ensure that service personnel serving abroad are placed in the same position as those serving in the United Kingdom.

Sergeant Trevor Walker's injuries were the result of military activity by warring factions in Bosnia. Since this was not a "criminal act" within the terms of the CIC(0) scheme, he was not eligible for compensation under the scheme. This judgment has been upheld by the Divisional Court, Court of Appeal and the House of Lords. In circumstances such as Sergeant Walker's, compensation would normally be through the payment of benefits for attributable injury under the war pension scheme (WPS) and the armed forces pension scheme (AFPS) on medical discharge. Sergeant Walker currently remains in service. He will be entitled to receive a war pension on retirement. He will also receive compensation under the AFPS if he is subsequently medically discharged as a result of his injury.

The Ministry of Defence has been conducting a review of compensation arrangements for service personnel and the proposals for a new compensation scheme (to replace the WPS and attributable benefits under the AFPS) to include compensation for service personnel injured as a result of terrorism or warlike activities, even if they remain in service. It is proposed that service personnel injured on or after the date of the new scheme's introduction would be covered by the new arrangements. Injuries which pre-date the new scheme's introduction would be covered by current compensation arrangements.