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R. (on the application of Setter) v Secretary of State for Defence

DATE: 17 Nov 2005

The appellant widow (S) appealed against a decision of the Pensions Appeal Tribunal to uphold the respondent secretary of state’s refusal of her application for a war widow’s pension. S’s husband had died from cancer of the kidney at the age of 60. He had served in the Royal Engineers between 1958 and 1964 and had been on Christmas Island when a series of nuclear test explosions were carried out there. He had also been exposed to various chemicals, including DDT. The tribunal based its conclusion on medical opinion that neither the radiation nor the chemicals caused the cancer. S contended that the tribunal had applied the wrong standard of proof by failing to apply the reasonable doubt approach given in the Naval, Military and Air Forces Etc (Disablement and Death) Service Pensions Order 1983 Art.5(4) .

Held, dismissing the appeal.