The Government’s proposal to double the threshold for employer liability cases taken in the small claims court to £2,000 needs to be approved by statutory instrument. Usdaw is backing the cross-party Justice Select Committee recommendation of a fair and reasonable compromise increase to £1,500.
Paddy Lillis - Usdaw General Secretary says:
“We are very disappointed that MPs today approved unfair and unnecessary measures that will significantly restrict access to justice for injured workers. The only beneficiaries of today’s vote will be unscrupulous employers and claims management companies. We are grateful to the Labour MPs who put up strong opposition to the Government’s proposals and it is clear that the only way we can secure fair access to justice is through the election of a Labour Government.
“However our campaign continues, because the threshold increase for employer liability cases has yet to be adopted through the statutory instrument process. We will be seeking a vote of the whole House of Commons and asking MPs to support our campaign to stop the Government forcing more injured workers into the small claims court, where the costs of legal representation cannot be recovered from negligent employers. We want the Government to accept the reasonable and fair compromise of raising the threshold to £1,500.
“Access to justice is a fundamental right for everyone, which helps ensure the rule of law as passed by Parliament is observed. We will not stand idly by while the Government restricts access to justice for injured workers.”
Usdaw believes that an increase to £2,000 in the small claims threshold will:
Notes for editors:
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers)
- Leave tens of thousands of injured workers without legal representation, because those costs cannot be awarded against negligent employers when the case is heard in the small claims court.
- Put people off bringing valid claims before the courts and create an imbalance in legal representation between claimants and defendants.Worsen workplace health and safety standards by making it less likely that negligent employers will be penalised, increasing the risk of an employee being injured while also restricting their ability to seek redress.
- Worsen workplace health and safety standards by making it less likely that negligent employers will be penalised, increasing the risk of an employee being injured while also restricting their ability to seek redress.
- Significantly increase incidents of cold calling and fraudulent claims, because case management companies will fill the vacuum created when regulated solicitors are forced to leave the market.
- Create court chaos as employer liability cases clog up the small claims system that was not designed to deal with complex employer liability cases.
- Impact access to justice for workers resident in Northern Ireland and Scotland who are injured while in England or Wales.
is the UK's fifth biggest and the fastest growing trade union with around 430,000 members. Membership has increased by more than 28% over the decade. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.
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