STANDARDS OF PROOF

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Under the VEA and the MRCA, two legislated standards of proof are applied to SoPs.8 Based on these, the RMA creates two SoPs for each kind of injury, disease or death.

The two SoPs are known generically as the reasonable hypothesis (RH) and balance of probability (BoP) SoPs.

Applying Standards of Proof

Both the RMA and the SMRC are required to apply the two standards of proof in arriving at their decisions.

Whether a reasonable hypothesis is ‘indicated’ is explicitly a matter for consideration and assessment by the RMA (or the SMRC) as part of the overall evaluative exercise it is carrying out. The evaluation addresses all the relevant SMSE, recognising that there may be contradictory evidence.

The overall evaluation function of the RMA and the SMRC is to determine whether the relevant SMSE, considered as a whole, indicates a reasonable hypothesis.

In short, the mere fact that one study (or even more than one study) is supportive of the existence of a reasonable hypothesis does not ordain the outcome on its own, but such a study (or studies) may be regarded as sufficient.

For the BoP, the consideration of ‘more likely than not’, a similar process applies, where all the relevant SMSE is considered.

The RMA has prepared a policy guide for its members on applying the standards of proof. See the RMA Member Handbook. See also the RMA’s Guidelines for Reseachers

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8

The SMRC does not conduct new literature searches and cannot rely upon ‘new’ information that has not been considered by the RMA.

Reasonable Hypothesis 196B provides:

  1. If the Authority is of the view that there is sound medical-scientific evidence that indicates that a particular kind of injury, disease or death can be related to:

 

caa British nuclear test defence service rendered by members of the Forces; or

(ca) warlike or non-warlike service rendered by members; the Authority must determine a Statement of Principles in respect of that kind of injury, disease or death setting out:

  1. operational service rendered by veterans; or
  2. peacekeeping service rendered by members of Peacekeeping Forces; or
  3. hazardous service rendered by members of the Forces; or
  4. the factors that must as a minimum exist; and
  5. which of those factors must be related to service rendered by a person; before it can be said that a reasonable hypothesis has been raised connecting an injury, disease or death of that kind with the circumstances of that service.

Balance of Probabilities - 196B(3) provides:

  1. If the Authority is of the view that on the sound medical-scientific evidence available it is more probable than not that a particular kind of injury, disease or death can be related to:

ba. peacetime service rendered by members;

the Authority must determine a Statement of Principles in respect of that kind of injury, disease or death setting out:

  1. eligible war service (other than operational service) rendered by veterans; or
  2. defence service (other than hazardous service and British nuclear test defence service) rendered by members of the Forces; or
  3. the factors that must exist; and
  4. which of those factors must be related to service rendered by a person; before it can be said that, on the balance of probabilities, an injury, disease or death of that kind is connected with the circumstances of that service.

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Last updated 23-Jan-2018