MoD cases hinge on document appeal

LAWYERS acting for pregnant women sacked from the services are eagerly awaiting the outcome of an employment appeal tribunal hearing.

Hundreds of women with outstanding claims for aggravated damages could be affected by an appeal against an interlocutory judgment on discovery of Ministry of Defence (MoD) documents.

Leeds Industrial Tribunal has ordered the MoD to hand over policy documents on sex discrimination in the forces.

But MoD lawyers have challenged the decision and have indicated that they will seek public interest immunity certificates if the appeal fails.

Victoria Daines, of Norwich-based Steele & Co, says the documents may support claims for higher levels of aggravated damages if they show the ministry deliberately broke European Union law.

The case is being brought on behalf of Pamela Meredith but the appeal decision could affect scores of other claims, says Daines.

A ministry spokeswoman says: “It is ridiculous to assert that the Government would knowingly have operated an unlawful policy of dismissal. No government department would willingly incur liability for thousands of compensation payments even if they were only for a few thousand pounds each.”

But Daines says: “I can see no reason why any government department's pregnancy dismissal policy should be a state secret.”