Military families who are suing the Ministry of Defense for damage to their homes are being “intimidated” to dismiss claims or face legal costs.
Documents obtained by the Guardian show that the threat of financial pain in the depths of the cost of living crisis is being used by federal attorneys to keep cases going. compensation out of court.
Hundreds of military families are reportedly looking for legal redress when the family services (SFA) system has been overwhelmed by complaints.
The MoD has not stepped in to defend the legal claims that have been made, as the government has failed to provide safe and well-maintained housing.
Government lawyers have sent angry letters warning that if the claims are not stopped the MoD will seek full compensation if there is a future lawsuit.
The strategy has also been deployed where a county court has made a “default” decision for a military family in cases where the MoD has failed to defend a claim.
In the letters seen by this newspaper, a senior attorney of the government wrote: “The purpose of this letter is to give you an open offer if you agree to the relief order and the decision will be left to the However, if the claim is terminated through the process of ordering permission (a copy of a copy of the copy), the MoD will not seek its legal fees for this process.
“If you do not agree to this by the end of Wednesday, 14 September 2022, we will issue the application and seek all MoD legal costs”.
In a letter to a second claimant, the same government attorney, acting for the Treasury Department attorney, wrote: “If you do not agree, we will be put in trouble and pay request a dispute, we will seek legal fees from the MoD. (which I think can be returned by deducting your fee). Please respond by 4pm on Monday, 3 October 2022.”
When reached, the attorney behind the letters was unavailable.
A Ministry of Defense spokesman said: “These cases relate to rental properties outside the UK. We will not comment further on this as legal proceedings are ongoing.
The revelations drew criticism from the party.
Shadow defense secretary John Healey said: “This is unacceptable. Ministers need to get rid of the MoD’s legal dogs and allow these threats to coerce families.
“When the service families go to court to fix the repairs, the shortcomings of the service life are confirmed. However, the ministers do not have a proper plan to fix the problems.
Mark Francois, a former Tory military minister, said: “Ministers need to act quickly and tackle this terrible problem.”
Tobias Ellwood, the Conservative chairman of the Commons select committee, said: “All service personnel and their families deserve a fair living.
“If it doesn’t work this is where the uniformed people live, it’s where the family calls home. The restrictions and pressures on family life change the balance of command to workers leave the army.
A spokesman said the MoD was looking to “intimidate” service workers but a growing number of service workers were preparing to take legal action before the MoD failed to ensure they stayed. their homes are good.
According to documents obtained by the Guardian, one service family, after a successful claim in the county court, secured a writ of high court and sent a bailiff to the MoD’s Defense Infrastructure headquarters. Organization in Lichfield in Staffordshire.
A senior MoD official asked the bailiff to leave without taking the property in lieu of compensation because “he can go through all the details”, according to a report of the incident on October 4.
Alfie Usher, a former paratrooper who now runs claims management company Claims Bible, said he had received 400 expressions of interest in the past two weeks from service personnel wanting to suing the MoD, he said he needed 100 to meet the threshold for a claim.
He said: “They include cases of black mold and information about asbestos. A man who found asbestos in his kitchen, he said to avoid the area. It is also important to warm, especially to those with children.
“The claim is the only way: when they start paying their money, the MoD will start listening. No win, no pay, and in the worst case we say we will come the MoD to fix.
It appears that the apartments rented out to the army personnel and their families have been in trouble for a long time.
Under an agreement in 1996 by then defense secretary Michael Portillo, around 57,000 such properties were sold to Annington Homes for £1.66 billion. The company is now owned by Terra Firma, the equity giant owned by billionaire Guy Hands.
Under the agreement, the government took a 200-year lease on the homes to keep them occupied by service personnel. The MoD is responsible for maintenance and upkeep.
Unable to capitalize on rising property values, the MoD has been forced to hold on to old buildings.
Four years ago, the National Accounts Office found that the rise in house prices caused by the government was between £2.2 billion and £4.2 billion worse than if the property budget had been maintained. .
In September, the MoD’s Infrastructure Administration was forced to apologize for the “unacceptable” service provided by three delivery companies awarded a £650m contract to handle complaints, distribution home and care.