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Tue, 2 June 2020

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New law to impose five-year time limit on Army prosecutions in bid to stop vexatious claims

New law to impose five-year time limit on Army prosecutions in bid to stop vexatious claims

British troops at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan.

2 min read

A new law will impose a five-year limit on the prosecution of British troops in a bid to end vexatious claims against them, it has been reported.

According to The Sun, only complaints containing "new and compelling" evidence will be pursued after that period elapses.

It means that veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars are highly unlikely to face attempts to prosecute them for their actions during those conflicts.

There will also be a six-year limit on civil claims and legal suits brought under the Human Rights Act, The Sun reports.

Meanwhile, Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis is to promise "equivalent" protections for veterand of the Troubles.

The moves follow years of controversy over investigations into veterans, many of them elderly, by so-called "ambulance chasing" lawyers.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace told The Sun: "For decades the men and women of our Armed Forces have been faced with the prospect of repeated investigations by inquest and police - despite the vast majority having acted in accordance with the rule of law and often at great personal risk.

“That is why the Government will today legislate to protect our veterans against repeated re-investigations where there is no new and compelling evidence against them, and to end vexatious claims against our Armed Forces.”

Writing for the paper, veterans minister and former Army officer Johnny Mercer said: “The days of lawyers re-writing history in order to make money off the backs of veterans are over.

“This Government is going to war on so called ‘lawfare’, and this is just the start.”

However, the moves are likely to prove controversial among Republicans in Northern Ireland, who insist Troubles veterans should face prosecution for what went on during the 30-year conflict.

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