Wren in sex equality fight settles case against MoD

SETTLEMENT Jacqueline Cartner
SETTLEMENT Jacqueline Cartner
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THE MoD has paid an out-of-court settlement to a former wren who claimed she suffered sexual discrimination in the Royal Navy.

After two years of legal battles, Jacqueline Cartner, 42, who served at HMS Collingwood in Fareham, has accepted a confidential payout and signed a gagging order preventing her from discussing her case.

The MoD’s move has killed off the threat of a legal precedent being set which may have led to dozens more lawsuits costing taxpayers millions of pounds.

Since 2010, two separate judges ruled Ms Cartner was passed over for promotion in 2008 on the grounds that, as a member of the Women’s Royal Naval Service, she had elected not to serve at sea when the rules were changed to allow women on warships in 1993.

Fearing a potential wave of litigation from other ex-wrens, the MoD spent £126,000 fighting the rulings.

Last December, a High Court judge sent the case back to square one by ordering a fresh employment tribunal this autumn. But now the case has been dropped.

A navy spokeswoman told The News: ‘We are pleased that this long-running case has now been concluded by mutual agreement.

‘The terms are confidential between the parties. It has been a challenging time for both the MoD and Ms Cartner who gave many years of loyal and high quality service.

‘We do wish Ms Cartner and her family well for the future.’ Ms Cartner, who was made an MBE by the Queen in 2001, was unable to comment because of the confidentiality order she signed.

The navy said it will now review the case to see if ‘appropriate lessons’ can be learned.

Former navy wren and employment law expert Sue Ball, who is a director at Verisona solicitors in Portsmouth, said: ‘This looks like a good result for the MoD, although it must have stuck in their throat to pay out money.

‘Litigation is always a risky and uncertain process and if the MoD had gone back to the tribunal again and it went against them then it would have had set a case law precedent that could have caused them a problem.

‘If I was acting for someone else in the same position as Jacquie, I’d be annoyed because I would’ve lost the opportunity to have case law to support our arguments.’