Compensation Claims made against the Ministry of Defence
This section describes common law non-contractual compensation claims made against the Ministry of Defence. These claims are of three broad types: employer's liability for Armed Forces personnel, employer's liability for its civilian employees, and public liability claims. Tables 2.38 and 2.39 show numbers of new claims made and numbers of claims settled, analysed by category of claim and by cause.
The Department self insures against loss. However, it employs commercial companies as claim handlers. All settlements are paid by the Department, the companies in question receiving a fee for each claim handled. Gallagher Bassett recently won the contracts in respect of third party motor claims and Service and civilian employer’s liability claims for all claims received after 1 May 2007. Claims received before this date are handled by:
1982 to 2007 AXA Corporate Solutions - third party motor claims
1996 to 2007 Royal & Sun Alliance (RSA) - employer's liability claims from Armed Forces personnel
1982 to 2002 AXA Corporate Solutions - employer's liability claims from civilian personnel
2002 to 2007 Royal & Sun Alliance - employer's liability claims from civilian personnel.
The MOD's Claims branch handles all other claims, including:
- public liability worldwide - property damage and personal injury (except where there is an Area Claims Officer (ACO))
- damage or injury caused by low flying military aircraft
- maritime claims and salvage claims
- clinical negligence
- claims made against a NATO visiting force
- high value, novel or contentious cases.
ACOs are part of the Command Secretariat and are located in Cyprus, the South Atlantic Islands, Germany (for NW Europe), Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq. They deal with public liability claims made against the MOD within their geographic area.
The number of new claims is the number of new cases opened by the MOD's Claims branch, ACOs and commercial claims handlers during that year; re-opened cases are not included. A new claim may be in the form of a letter from a claimant or their legal representative, or in the form of proceedings issued by a court of law. The largest number of new claims is in respect of on-duty Road Traffic Accidents involving Armed Forces personnel or MOD civilians driving a MOD-owned or MOD-hired vehicle.
These are claims for which a full and final settlement has been made, either by agreement between the parties, or which a court has determined. Claims are not recorded as settled until the final payment is made, which is normally the claimant’s solicitor's costs and disbursements. This bill is sometimes presented some months after the compensation payment has been made, so compensation and legal costs can be paid in different financial years.
Further details may be found in the Claims Annual Report available from Common Law Claims & Policy.