Duncan Lewis

Romford Office

Crime and Civil cases

house 40 staff

ERR Bill is rejected by the House of Commons

Date: (19 April 2013)    |    

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Clause 61, of Employment and Regulatory Reform (ERR) Bill has been saved after the House of Commons has rejected the ERR bill which would have immensely pleased the Insurers.

MPs rejected the Lords amendment to the ERR bill, removing Clause 61, by 316 votes to 241. The bill will return to the Lords next week.
The clause is seen as putting the burden on the workers making civil claims for personal injury to prove that employers were in breach of their statutory duties under the health and safety regulation.

Andy McDonald, Labour MP for Middlesbrough, said clause 61, introduced during the Commons report stage of the bill last October, went "much further" than Professor Lofstedt's review of health and safety law.

Professor Lofstedt referred to ending civil liability, but only in relation to strict liability, whereas these proposals are seen as impacting the vast majority of employer liability cases, where breaches of statutory duty allegations were usually more important than negligence.

The defeat of the bill means that in every case the injured worker would have to prove that the employer knew or should have known, that a machine was unsafe, equipment was faulty, or there had been previous accidents something known to the employer but unlikely to be known by the employee.

In every case, the injured worker will have to prove that the employer knew, or ought to have known, that a machine was unsafe, equipment was faulty, or there had been previous accidents-something known to the employer but unlikely to be known by the employee.

An ex - personal injury solicitor has said that 90 percent of health and safety regulations enforcement was through the civil courts, with 78,000 compensation claims following accidents at work every year but only 1,000 criminal prosecutions.

He added that when he had left practice he left a case load that ran into hundreds of millions of pounds. These were not windfalls for people and neither it was about a compensation culture these people had not won the pools or the lottery.

These awards were moneys which were there to provide them with lifelong care – with transport, rehabilitation, speech therapy and physiotherapy-but the government's proposal seemed to take away all that from these people.

The solicitor said that insurers were sure to be rubbing their hands with glee at clause 61and workers would be denied a basic human right, and at a massive cost to the taxpayer.

He concluded that clause 61 would result in a lot of misery for people who will have to turn to statutory services and not receive the care and attention they need.

 

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