Who? Philippa Tuckman, 52, partner and head of military claims at niche London litigation firm Bolt Burdon Kemp.
Why is she in the news? She is acting for retired military personnel who, while overseas in countries where malaria is rife, were administered the anti-malarial prophylactic Lariam (also known as Mefloquine) and are still experiencing severe side effects. These can include depression, hallucinations, convulsions, anxiety and suicidal tendencies.
Tuckman argues that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) did not give service personnel the advice and health warnings that the Medical and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency has, since at least 1996, said are required. As such, the military has failed in its duty of care towards service personnel and is liable to pay compensation for the suffering caused.
A 20 August MoD press release states: ‘Since 2013, Mefloquine has only been prescribed after an individual risk assessment.’ Up until that date, the MoD maintains, there was no systematic requirement for such assessments.
Thoughts on the case: ‘Lariam has been associated with disturbing side effects for a long time. We should all be concerned about the legal, social and political implications of handing it out to service personnel without regard to their long-term wellbeing.’
Dealing with the media: ‘The media has been very sympathetic, although not all outlets have fully understood the legal complexities of the case.’
Why become a lawyer? ‘I’m a child of anti-Thatcherism and wanted to practise in legal aid – although most of the areas that interested me no longer qualify for public funding.’
Career high: ‘The years spent developing this military claims team. Each team member acts to the highest standards. We also have a lot of fun.’
Career low: ‘A group action on behalf of Gurkha veterans who receive smaller pensions than their British counterparts. We thought we had an excellent case. We lost.’