Disappointing Result For Australian Nuclear Veterans In UK Court
PRESS RELEASE FROM STACKS / THE LAW FIRM
The British Ministry of Defence has won a court case in the UK which is a set back for Australian military veterans seeking to get damages from the UK Government for health damage caused by exposure to radiation during British nuclear tests carried out in Australia 50 years ago.
The UK Court of Appeal handed down a judgement overnight Australian time agreeing with the UK Ministry of Defence that too much time had gone by for British military veterans to claim damages.
The Appeal Court also rejected a lower court’s decision that the veterans and their families had the right to compensation for long term health problems caused by their exposure to nuclear radiation at the nuclear tests.
Sydney lawyer Tom Goudkamp of Stacks Law Firm led a team of lawyers representing hundreds of Australian nuclear veterans who were closely following the case of 1,011 British veterans who took the UK Ministry of Defence to court.
In a legal first, British veterans won the right to sue the UK Ministry of Defence in a lower court last year. Australian veterans had planned to mount their own case against the UK MoD based on the initial success of the British veterans. But that has now been largely blocked by the Court of Appeal in London.
Mr Goudkamp and his team are reviewing the Court of Appeal judgement to determine how it effects Australian nuclear veterans.
“We will discuss with our colleagues in the UK how best to proceed,” Mr Goudkamp said.
“It is a very disappointing result for the Australian nuclear veterans who have fought so long to try and get some compensation from the British government for the awful health problems their exposure to nuclear radiation has caused to them and their families,” Mr Goudkamp said.
“The British government spent tens of millions of dollars fighting this case against their own veterans for the damage caused to their health by their nuclear testing in the Cold War. They could have used that money to help these people rather than fight them in the courts.” Mr Goudkamp said many of the veterans’ families have suffered long term health problems caused by their exposure to nuclear radiation, but the UK Court of Appeal found it would be extremely difficult to establish the nuclear explosions were the sole and direct cause of their health problems.
Tom Goudkamp is available for interview on (02) 9237 2222 or 0417 211 194
Press release from Frank Walker
Media adviser for Stacks / The Law Firm
0417 090 346