Since 2006, Leigh Day has been representing 2 injured British soldiers and the family of one soldier who died when the Challenger II tank they were in came under fire from another British Challenger II tank on the fourth day of the Iraq War in 2003.
Cpl Stephen Allbutt, was tragically killed in that incident. Daniel Twiddy and Andy Julien suffered horrific injuries.
Leigh Day represented Cpl Stephen Allbutt’s widow Debi at the inquest into her husband’s death in 2007.
The soldiers and Ms Allbutt are suing the Ministry of Defence (MoD) for negligently failing to develop, introduce and train troops on tactics, techniques and procedures designed to reduce the risk of blue on blue incidents which would have had the real prospect of preventing their injuries and death.
In 2013 the MoD lost its appeal to the Supreme Court to strike out the soldier’s cases where it argued it should not owe a duty of care to the soldiers for failing to adequately train them and those in the tank which fired on the basis the death and injuries occurred during a military operation and the claims will require the courts to consider how the MoD deployed scarce military resources, which should be left for politicians to decide, not to be scrutinized by the court.
Progress of Claims
Since the MoD lost at the Supreme Court the claims brought by Dan, Andy and Debi have been actively case managed by the High Court.
The disclosure of documents by the MoD has been a lengthy process which has been ongoing for more than a year. Disclosure is still ongoing.
The Court has set a timetable for the exchange of factual evidence. The next CMC on this case is fixed for June 2016 at which point the Court will be asked to grant permission for parties to rely on expert evidence.
The Court has agreed to fix a trial to deal with a preliminary issue as to whether the MoD is legally liable to the Claimants in the circumstances of their claims and if so, whether the deaths and injuries were caused by breaches of the MoD’s duty of care.
A trial date is yet to be fixed.