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High Court rejects Q Fever appeal: Bass v MOD


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Robert Dickason, led by Ben Collins QC, has successfully defended the Ministry of Defence in the High Court appeal brought by former serviceman Pte Wayne Bass, following dismissal of his claim for damages in early 2019.

Private Bass contracted Q Fever, leading to Q Fever Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, during his deployment in Afghanistan in 2012. He was medically discharged from the Army and brought a claim for damages against the MOD on the basis that it ought to have provided him with an alternative form of antimalarial which would have protected him against both malaria and Q Fever. He also asserted that the Management of Health and Safety in the Workplace Regulations 1999 applied during his deployment in Afghanistan because decisions relating to antimalarial provision were taken in the UK. The claim was dismissed following a trial at Central London County Court in early 2019 but appealed to the High Court.

Handing down judgment on 13 January 2020, and upholding the judgment of the trial judge below, Martin Spencer J rejected the Claimant’s arguments in relation to the application of health and safety regulations to MOD activity abroad. He also found that the Ministry of Defence was at all times “taking its responsibilities as employer very seriously…the welfare of the troops and the welfare of the operational capacity went hand in hand.”

The impact of this judgment upon the remainder of the claims in the Q Fever cohort will be significant. The full text is available here.

Robert’s appointment on the Attorney-General’s C Panel of Counsel continues until August 2020. Should you wish to instruct Robert or find out more, please contact Graham Woods or Chris Rowe on +44 (0)20 7353 6381.


Barristers: Robert Dickason
Categories: News