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Court of Appeal dismisses Iraq fatality appeal

Matthew Boyle was junior Counsel for the successful Respondents in Davies v Global Strategies Group Limited [2010] EWCA Civ 648.

The Appellant’s husband was shot and killed by insurgents in Northern Iraq in June 2004, whilst working as a platoon commander for the Respondent security companies. She brought a claim in negligence alleging that, against the background of the rising insurgent threat at the time, the Respondents ought to have provided the Deceased with a vehicle with a bullet resistant windscreen. This contention was rejected at trial by Burnett J [2009] EWHC 2342 (QB).

The Court of Appeal, applying its earlier decision in Brown v Corus UK Limited [2004] EWCA Civ 337, considered that where an employer exposes an employee to a risk that is capable of being reduced, there is an evidential burden on the Defendant to show why the reduction was not achieved. In the present case, the trial Judge had been entitled to evaluate the evidence called by both sides in relation to this issue before concluding that the Defendant had discharged the burden.

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