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3.5.1 Assessing the evidence
As discussed above at 3.1.1 there are three types of defence service that may be relevant to MRCA claimants:
'Defence service' refers to any or all of the above. The type of service that the person has affects the standard of proof that applies to assessing all of the material and determining the claim.
Under sections 336 and 337 of the MRCA, the decision maker is 'not entitled to make certain presumptions' in relation to evidence, but nor is there any 'onus of proof' on the person in relation to any element of the claim.
The material or evidence may take many forms and includes the contents of the service records and any relevant medical reports and/or investigations. Many claims will require further information to enable a lawful decision to be made.
This may simply be a telephone call to the claimant to clarify the nature and extent of their service duties with a file note to record essential details.
Example:A person claims tinea of the skin and contends it is due to 'wet feet' on service. The tinea of the skin SOP has a 'skin maceration' factor which requires this to have occurred some time within the 14 days before the onset/worsening of tinea. Although it is commonplace to experience moisture in the socks in a military environment – a situation that lends itself to skin maceration – if the claimant was a cook, it would be appropriate to obtain further details about any claimed skin maceration during the 14 days before onset – e.g. the cook may have been involved in a military training exercise and experienced heavy foot sweating during this crucial 14 day period.
In other cases more detailed information may be required to enable a lawful decision to be made. However, additional evidence is unlikely to be required for those conditions subject to MRCC 'streamlining' provisions detailed at 3.4.4 above.