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Tens of thousands of injured workers could be left to fend for themselves in court - Usdaw urges MPs to support a fair compromise on the Civil Liability Bill

Date: 23 October 2018 Shopworkers’ trade union leader Paddy Lillis is urging MPs to address concerns about Government proposals, linked to the Civil Liability Bill, which will restrict injured workers’ access to justice. The Bill is set to complete its remaining stages in the House of Commons today.
The Government proposes doubling the threshold for employer liability cases taken in the small claims court to £2,000. Usdaw is backing the cross-party Justice Select Committee recommendation of a fair and reasonable compromise of £1,500. Usdaw believes that an increase to £2,000 in the small claims limit will:
  • 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.
  • 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.
Paddy Lillis - Usdaw General Secretary says: “The proposed reforms are unfair, unnecessary and will significantly restrict access to justice for workers injured while in England and Wales. The only beneficiaries will be unscrupulous employers and claims management companies.

“We are 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.”

Notes for editors:
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) 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.
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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The official website of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers