Ruling on nuclear test damages case
Veterans who blame their ill health on Britain's nuclear tests in the 1950s are likely to attempt to take their case to the Supreme Court following a ruling which has denied them a chance for their complaints to be heard in full trial.
The prospect emerged as the Ministry of Defence won the bulk of its appeal against a High Court ruling in June 2009 which allowed Britain's atomic test veterans to claim damages.
The servicemen, some suffering from cancer, were seeking compensation for health problems they believe were caused by nuclear tests on the Australian mainland, Monte Bello islands and Christmas Island.
The MoD, which denies negligence, fought the cases on the preliminary point that they were all launched outside the legal time limit.
The Court of Appeal overturned a decision by judge Mr Justice Foskett that allowed 10 test cases to proceed to full trial, with Lady Justice Smith, Lord Justice Leveson and Sir Mark Waller ruling that nine out of the 10 cases were statute-barred, while the tenth, that of the late Bert Sinfield, was entitled to proceed to trial.
The judges said they could not rule in the veterans' favour because they had no evidence to prove that their illnesses had probably been caused by radiation exposure.
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