Vulnerable ex-servicemen and women claimants may be losing large amounts of the compensation they receive from the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme due to a lack of sufficient checks in place over the guardianship of lump sum payments into their bank accounts.
The warning has come from military claims specialist Hilary Meredith, the CEO of Hilary Meredith Solicitors, who has said that large sums of money are being paid to young people into bank accounts that can be accessed by other individuals. She also said that some recipients of compensation lack the mental capacity to manage large sums of money due to the injuries they have suffered.
The Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) represents a worker’s death or injury in service scheme paying out a lump sum gratuitous award, the top award currently being £570,000 and has been in operation since 2005.
Meredith has said that the Court of Protection should get involved in order to control finances so they are wisely invested and not dissipated on spending frivolously by buying inappropriate vehicles, for example.
She has also questioned whether some family members of soldiers can be trusted if they have access to compensation money and suggested that this was another area where the Court of Protection could step in to help.
“These problems are only just becoming a serious reality. Time is passing and the money is running out. Without checks in place the situation will worsen,” said Meredith.
“As a solicitor instructed on such cases, I would be professionally negligent and open to reprimand and disciplinary procedures from the Solicitors Regulation Authority and legal claims if I allowed this situation to happen in my care.
“I have met with the Ministry of Defence and MPs but the situation remains unchanged,” she added.