Court rules no rights protection for UK troops at war


Sheep worrier.
VIP Member
Aug 8, 2001
Reaction score
The edge.
i thought i had mis-heard this on the radio, this is an absolute fkin disgrace, our own government now says that our troops have to show more mercy to those trying to kill them, than they are given from those who sent them out there in the first place, what a fkin joke

AFP: Court rules no rights protection for UK troops at war

LONDON — British troops are not protected by human rights laws on the battlefield, the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday, after the government argued that such protection could hamper military decision-making.

Six of the nine justices in London overturned rulings by the High Court and Court of Appeal in the case of a British soldier who died in Iraq in 2003 of a cardiac arrest after suffering the effects of extreme heat.

A 2006 inquest into Private Jason Smith's death blamed a "serious failure" by the army to recognise how the heat was affecting the 32-year-old, and his family launched a legal action that became a test case of soldiers' rights.

While the Ministry of Defence conceded that soldiers on British military bases or hospitals were protected by the Human Rights Act, their lawyers argued it was impractical to extend such protection to battlefield situations.

"The imposition of some form of legal duty of care would create a major and disproportionate risk that military decision-making would be made more cumbersome and would be skewed in the light of it," their lawyer James Eadie had argued at the Supreme Court in March.

Although the ministry lost its argument at the High Court and then the Court of Appeal, those rulings were overturned at the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

Justice Lord Alan Rodger said: "While steps can be taken, by training and by providing suitable armour, to give our troops some measure of protection against these hostile attacks, that protection can never be complete.

"Deaths and injuries are inevitable."

He added: "To suggest that these deaths and injuries can always, or even usually be seen as the result of some failure to protect the soldiers... is to depreciate the bravery of the men and women who face these dangers."

Jocelyn Cockburn, the lawyer for Smith's mother Catherine, said the decision was "shocking", adding: "It is artificial to assert that rights can be protected on base but not off base."

However, Defence Secretary Liam Fox said "common sense has prevailed", adding: "It would have been absurd to try to apply the same legal considerations on the battlefield that exist in non-combat situations."

Britain has withdrawn from Iraq but about 9,500 British troops remain in Afghanistan, most of them battling Taliban insurgents. A total of 309 have died since 2001.


Inactive User
Jun 11, 2009
Reaction score
Soaring above the clouds
This is diabolical Human Rights are set up for the health, safety and protection of human beings.

How a ruling that was agreed at one point can be overturned without any consideration for the Troops and/or there families, should they be in a battlefield situation.

Time these Justices went out to the areas of conflict and witnessed what life on the front line is like, instead of showing such disregard for our forces.

Fight for your rights to be protected while you fight for your life queen and country.


DW Member ++
Oct 29, 2007
Reaction score
That's the sad thing about joining the forces, once you do they own you and you are a dispensable commodity!


VIP Member
VIP Member
Aug 23, 2007
Reaction score
I don't know the full ins and outs of this case but I can understand that battlefield environment is not the same as civilian environment. However I thought it would be in the military own interest to ensure that its soldiers are looked after as best as possible. Aside from human aspect, they are expensive to recruit and train so why not give them the best possible support.