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Old 18th Jul 2019, 07:27
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Ecce Homo! Loquitur...
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Peripatetic
Posts: 10,047
Payout for Air Cdre Greenís Widow

Though I do fell the wording of the headline in poor taste. 8 years is also a long time to wait for a judgement and a pension when you are already at retirement age.

RAF payout for woman in relationship with officer

A woman has won the right to financial compensation from the RAF after the death of her officer partner even though she never divorced her estranged husband.

Appeal judges overturned an earlier decision and allowed Jane Langford to claim under the armed forces compensation scheme after Air Commodore Christopher Green died at the age of 52. Ms Langford, who is in her early seventies, had lived with the RAF officer for 15 years until he died unexpectedly in 2011. She had remained married despite having been separated from her husband for 17 years.

Under the armed forces scheme, partners of military personnel are entitled to a bereavement grant and guaranteed income until death. Ms Langford claimed that a rule that excludes partners of members of the armed forces who remain married to another person was “unlawfully discriminatory”. At a hearing last month Chris Buttler, her barrister, argued that it was “disproportionately harsh to withhold benefits from those who have lost a breadwinner for want of compliance with a technicality”.

The decision at the Court of Appeal yesterday found that the rule was “unlawful and cannot be justified”.

Lord Justice McCombe, sitting with Lord Justice Leggatt and Lord Justice Baker, said that the “broad exclusionary rule” was “a sledgehammer to crack a nut”. He added: “It is a legitimate aim of the scheme to achieve parity of treatment between married and unmarried partners of scheme members. But such parity is in reality achieved not by imposing restrictions based on a partner’s marital status, but by requiring the demonstration of a substantial, exclusive and financially dependent relationship in practice.”

The judge emphasised that the decision applied specifically to Ms Langford’s case and said he could not rule out that exclusionary terms might be used in a “justified and proportionate” way in the future.

Graeme Fraser, a member of Resolution, a family law group, said that the judgment would “help remedy an important aspect of the injustices that cohabitants up and down the country face on a daily basis”.

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