Soldiers are not MOD employees!
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I was interested to hear the outcome of the High Court decision in the cases of Adam Broni, Simon Woof and Raphael Barbour against the Ministry of Defence which centred on whether military personnel are employees.
Prior to April 2013, the Civil Procedure Rules stipulated fixed success fees in certain employers' liability claims.
The cases all concerned serviceman being injured whilst training. The Claimants argued that a serving member of the armed forces is not an employee under a contract of service and therefore was not restricted in the level of success fee which could be claimed from the MOD.
At first instance, in the case of Broni, Master O'Hare said the Claimant could easily be described as an employee and that Woof had a 'contract of service'. In the case of Barbour, Deputy Judge James decided that "armed forces personnel should be dealt with as employees".
However, on appeal Mr Justice Supperstone found for the Claimants and ruled that there was "no scope" for giving the words 'contract of service' a broader meaning and that there was no ambiguity in what the term employee means. As a result, he determined these serviceman were not employees and therefore were not restricted in the level of success fee which could be recovered from the MOD.
I welcome the clarification of the employment status of military personnel here and the comments made by Mr Justice Supperstone that, "The Ministry of Defence owe a duty of care to serviceman whether they work under a contract of service or not, both at common law and under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974."
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