We send our servicemen to do our dirty work in far distant places, but when they return they face another enemy that is far more insidious than any they have faced on a battlefield: they face the human rights lawyers.
Not only is the Human Rights Act 1998 the illegal immigrants’ charter, it is also the lawyer’s money tree, and the lawyers have been milking it for all it is worth. Our servicemen need some sort of protection from the never-ending stream of spurious, vexatious actions brought against them by law firms who seem to want to transfer as much taxpayer’s money as possible into their own members pockets. I would suggest that a way to combat this is to re-instate the protection of Crown Immunity.
The basic principle of Crown Immunity is that anyone acting on behalf of the Crown cannot be deemed to be doing any wrong. It would obviously have to be qualified a bit these days. I would suggest that Crown Immunity should be applied to all persons “bearing arms in the name of the Crown”, which should also include police officers who are authorised to use firearms. Of course, Crown Immunity should not be seen as a carte blanche for servicemen to do as they please when on operations, but it should be qualified, and the qualification that should apply is that Crown Immunity only applies when the individual is acting within the orders they have received from their superiors, or “reasonably in the circumstances” in the absence of any such orders, or when the situation demands.
If a person has breached the requirements of Crown Immunity they should face trial by Courts Martial for military personnel or Crown Court for police officers. The determination as to whether or not a person has breached the requirements of Crown Immunity should be made by an Appellate court (Court of Appeal or Supreme Court), and their decision should be final. On no account should there be any right of appeal to any international court, ESPECIALLY not a European court. If there are any international repercussions in any case, then the British government as an entity should answer for them under the principle of vicarious liability, and defend themselves in whatever court brings the case. The individual involved should bear no liability in any international court. It is bad enough seeing British servicemen and police officers being thrown to the wolves in our own courts, usually for political expediency, and we certainly don’t want to see any of them thrown to an international legal wolf pack.
In any case brought against a serviceman or firearms police officer, if the Appellate court decides that there is no case to answer, the complainant should be responsible for the costs of the failed case. If the complainant disappears into a foreign country and cannot be found, then the law firm representing them should be required to take responsibility for the costs.
A system such as Crown Immunity should help to bring some sanity back to military operations and armed police actions.