Beverly Clarke -v- The Ministry of Defence #Protect our Heroes!

by Bev Clark

Beverly Clarke -v- The Ministry of Defence #Protect our Heroes!

by Bev Clark
Funded
on 22nd September 2015
£1,400
pledged of £5,000 stretch target from 11 pledges
Bev Clark
Case Owner
My name is Beverly Clarke. My case surrounds the tragic loss of my dear son David Clarke. He was killed as a result of a ‘friendly fire’ incident whilst on deployment in Iraq in 2003. He was 19 years old. I no longer qualify for Legal Aid, after taking a minimum wage job in a supermarket. My legal fight for justice and accountability for the death of my son has lasted over a decade.
24 October: UPDATE - The Guardian covered my case

Should the Armed forces remain immune from accountability?

My son David Clarke, a very young man, was killed along with others killed and injured, when a British tank fired on another British tank as part of combat hostilities in Iraq during 2003.

My case will determine whether the Armed forces remain immune from accountability for death or injury from ‘friendly fire’ in combat,where serious, basic failings in training for young recruits before hostilities commenced, are alleged to have caused this ‘friendly fire’ tragedy.

My case - which will set a precedent for all soldiers and other members of the Armed forces

A Supreme Court ruling in 2013 meant that the High Court was allowed to decide at trial, by reference to the facts, the reasonable, practical and proportionate extent of the Ministry of Defence obligation and duty to protect soldiers’ lives when engaged in conflict abroad.

In other words, this ruling meant that ordinary UK citizens could bring a case to trial before the High Court and as a result of the alleged failures of the Ministry of Defence, to reasonably protect members of the armed forces who were engaged in conflict abroad.

This is significant, because it potentially benefits victims and their families and may ensure that the MoD is not immune from legal blame for death or injury caused by every 'friendly fire' incident in combat.

For example, we want to show that in my son’s case, the MoD didn’t take reasonable steps to ensure that, prior to the commencement of hostilities, adequate training, including recognition and judgemental training, and adequate tactics techniques and procedures were put in place for, and provided to, British troops.

But the MoD wants a different outcome. They refuse to settle my case. They want to win to try to stop other victims’ families making successful claims which may follow the present Supreme Court judgment, by defeating my case at trial, creating a negative precedent to counter the benefits of the current judgment.

What I am trying to achieve

What I, with the help of my legal team Public Interest Lawyers, am trying to achieve by using the law is to create a legal obligation for the armed forces to adequately train all recruits before combat and to be accountable to the victims and families when training has not been good enough.

This will affect every Armed forces’ recruit and change the way the Armed forces operate. My case for change seeks to ensure that all recruits have as much protection as possible, gained from a legally binding obligation of adequate training before fighting begins and also as the best practical means to significantly reduce tragic incidents of 'friendly fire' in combat.


John Hendy QC explains in brief the premise of my case 


I am not doing this for personal financial gain. My son died instantaneously, was not married and had no children. My lawyers tell me that damages are available but financial compensation is very low in these circumstances.

I seek the only civil legal remedies available, the limited compensation allowed as some recognition toward wrong-doing and importantly for me, just satisfaction under human rights law, which includes a declaration that human rights were breached.

This is an effective means of legal accountability for my son’s death, and together with a change in the law, a demonstrable means to protect other soldiers and members of the armed forces in similar circumstances in the future.

Fighting on in the absence of legal aid

Legal Aid was removed from my case on the grounds of financial eligibility alone. I had taken a shop assistant job. This cancellation was before a trial has even taken place. I have been told by my lawyers that there is a very strong legal case, but changes in Legal Aid rules mean that there is no means to protect me from the Ministry of Defence’s legal costs, if I lose my fight for justice on behalf of my lost son.

It was a very tragic incident that killed my son. What happened to him should not happen to anyone. I wish to take my case to the High Court in order to secure adequate training for all armed forces recruits as a matter of law and to protect those young men and women from 'friendly fire’ tragedies.

I also wish to illustrate that Legal Aid being removed from ordinary working people, with no alternatives, means that important cases cannot be brought against the government, without the risk of financial ruin for the ordinary person in seeking justice.

How much am I raising and what am I raising money to do?

I am raising as much as I can to cover my adverse costs liability to pay the Ministry of Defence's legal costs only – because Legal Aid was removed when I took a low paid job. I am liable for their costs from that point onwards if I lose.

I am starting at a very low amount of £250, but trying to raise at least £5,000.

I will probably need £30,000 in total to cover my costs exposure for the length of the case – a terrifyingly huge sum for me to cover.

About the claimant

My name is Beverly Clarke. My case surrounds the tragic loss of my dear son David Clarke. He was killed as a result of a ‘friendly fire’ incident whilst on deployment in Iraq in 2003. He was 19 years old. I no longer qualify for Legal Aid, after taking a minimum wage job in a supermarket. My legal fight for justice and accountability for the death of my son has lasted over a decade.

Fast facts

## Name of case: Beverly Clarke -v- The Ministry of Defence ## What’s at stake: Ensuring armed forces recruits are adequately trained before being sent into battle, and accountability to the victims and families if they are killed or injured as a result of inadequate training. ## What’s the next step: The High Court will give directions to a liability trial creating a legal precedent, likely to take place before Easter 2016. ## My lawyers My solicitors are Public Interest Lawyers. ## Crowdfunding again My first crowdfunding attempt did not succeed but I have re-launched it and am determined to succeed this time - this case is so important to me and to others.

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