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Gulf War Syndrome Legal Case Collapses

An eight-year, multimillion pound legal battle by more than 2,000 veterans for compensation for Gulf War Syndrome has collapsed after legal aid was withdrawn. This does not mean that the veterans were not sick but rather that a specific cause would have to be proved. To succeed in their claim against the MoD the veterans would have to produce scientific evidence not only that their illness was caused by their service in the 1991 Gulf war, but also that the MoD had been negligent. In a reversal of pension awards the burden of proof would be on them as claimants to prove their case.

In the face of the collapse there has been a growing call from top QCs and politicians for an independent inquiry into the illnesses suffered by veterans. Lord Morris of Manchester said he would deliver a letter to the prime minister calling for an inquiry and ex gratia payments to veterans. The collapse of the legal battle means that “the government can no longer pass the buck to the courts”, said Mr Paul Tyler, MP. “The fact that the legal case has petered out in no way implies that the illnesses have petered out - far from it.”

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Page last updated: January 28, 2003