Regina v Ministry of Defence ex parte Walker: Admn 9 Feb 1998

The court dismissed the plaintiff’s request for judicial review of the refusal of the Criminal Injuries Compensation (Overseas) Scheme. He was injured serving as a United Nations Peacekeeper in Bosnia, from a single round fired into the block by a Serbian tank. It is not known whether the tank aimed its fire at the accommodation block or whether it was an accident while it was shooting at something else. However, nearby British and Canadian forces immediately responded with rocket and high explosive fire, clearly treating it as a warlike act. For the purpose of this appeal the Ministry has regarded it as a deliberately aimed shot at the peacekeeping unit’s base.
Held: The court rejecte dthe proposed argument distinguishing between war operations or military activity by warring factions on the one hand and an international crime on the other.
Latham J said: ‘The Scheme only has application where a crime has been committed. The question which has to be answered is whether the actions which constituted the crime amounted to ‘military activity’ in the ordinary sense of that phrase. I readily accept that the mere fact that, for example, a member of one of the warring factions in uniform shot at and killed or injured a peacekeeping soldier would not of itself lead to the inference that that person was engaged in ‘military activity’. An individual act of violence may not, without more, have the necessary qualities of planning or cohesive action which would justify that description. But it seems to me that an attack by a tank on an observation post and accommodation such as the attack on the Maglaj School in the present case, does have those qualities. It follows that the Respondent was, in my judgment, entitled to conclude that the injuries sustained by the Applicant, albeit that they were sustained as a result of a crime of violence, fell within the exception set out in the policy.’


Latham J


[1998] EWHC Admin 157



Cited by:

Appeal fromRegina v Ministry of Defence, Ex Parte Walker CA 5-Feb-1999
The scheme provided by the Ministry of Defence to compensate soldiers for being injured by criminal acts did not cover a wound inflicted by a shell fired from a tank whilst on peacekeeping duties. This was akin to a war injury.
Auld LJ said: . .
At AdmnRegina v Ministry of Defence, ex parte Walker HL 6-Apr-2000
The Ministry of Defence operated a scheme for compensating soldiers serving abroad who were injured as a result of criminal activity. The claimant, whilst serving on a peace-keeping mission in Bosnia, was injured when a hut was hit by a shell fired . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Personal Injury, Armed Forces

Updated: 27 May 2022; Ref: scu.138278