Skip to main content

Committee to take evidence on the human rights implications of the Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill

25 September 2020

On Monday 28 September at 2.30pm the Joint Committee on Human Rights will be hearing from witnesses about the potential human rights implications of this bill, which had its Second Reading Debate in the Commons on 23 September.

Topics for discussion include:

  • Implications of the presumption against prosecution after five years:
    • Justifications for the introduction of a presumption against prosecution for service personnel and veterans;
    • The scope of the presumption against prosecution applying to all offences except sexual offences, and the risks of creating impunity for serious offences such as war crimes and torture;
    • The risk of contravening the UK’s international legal obligations and implications for the reputation of the UK Armed Forces;
    • The risk of cases against service personnel being brought before the International Criminal Court;
    • The role of the Attorney General in deciding whether to prosecute.
  • Implications of the amended limitation period for civil and Human Rights Act claims: 
    • Is there a problem of vexatious or unmeritorious claims being brought by Armed Forces personnel and civilians against the MOD?
    • The imposition of an absolute six-year time limit: Impact on members of the Armed Forces (who bring the vast majority of claims) and civilians.
  • Duty to consider derogation from the European Convention on Human Rights in overseas operations – what are the implications?


  • Elizabeth Wilmshurt CMG, Distinguished Fellow, Chatham House
  • Martyn Day, Partner at Leigh Day
  • Reverend Nicholas Mercer, former Command Legal Advisor, UK 1st Armoured Division, Iraq War
  • Mark Goodwin-Hudson, former British Army Officer and head of the NATO Civilian Casualty Investigation and Mitigation Team in Afghanistan in 2016.

Further information

Image: Parliamentary copyright