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The High Court has ruled emergency laws underpinning a government back-to-work scheme are "incompatible" with the European Convention on Human Rights.

The ruling stems from a case brought by Cait Reilly in 2012, who said being forced to work for free at a Poundland store breached her human rights.

The government brought in new rules in 2013 allowing unpaid work schemes to continue pending further legal appeals.

Ministers said they were "disappointed" by the ruling and would appeal.

Miss Reilly, a 24-year old university graduate, challenged the legality of an unpaid work placement she undertook in 2011.

She said that she was told that if she did not agree to take part in the scheme, which she said involved stacking shelves, she would lose her Jobseeker's Allowance.

The government was forced to pass emergency legislation amending the scheme last year after Court of Appeal ruled that the regulations underpinning it did not comply with existing laws giving the Department for Work and Pensions the power to introduce the programme.

Read more on the BBC website

Comments  

+1 #5 timmyjohnanners 2014-07-05 11:11
they will find a way.
+1 #4 Paul Richards 2014-07-05 10:01
Hi all,
Very interesting comments made by everyone and
let's hope that the DWP does indeed lose the appeal as again, it certainly looks as though they may be going against people's human rights in law. As I see it, the current system is a form of enforced slavery (working with no pay at all!) and also blackmail (i.e: you will do this or you will lose your benefits).
One could argue that it may be a form of getting some work experience, but I doubt that there are any provisos in place to ensure that once the person's time is up on the scheme, then the employer will probably be able to take someone else on to work for them for free! (Together with the DVLA disgraceful tax disc implementation, I see that there may be more Human Rights issues in the future - let's hope that the ECHR starts to sit up and take notice of what this Co-alition Government is doing to people and start to take action against them)
Even in the time of E.T. (Employment Training) schemes, the claimant would be paid £10 a week on top of their normal benefit, also their travelling expenses if required.
But as I said before, the current system seems to be a kind of attempted enforced 'slave labour'
+1 #3 Jim Allison 2014-07-04 19:09
It won't be that easy as it breaches the ECHR. Let's see how the DWP appeal goes- I predict they'll lose :-?
+1 #2 Crazydiamond 2014-07-04 18:44
Quote:
They'll probably just change the law retrospectively to get round it. We've seen before that the DWP considers the law of the land to be a trifling inconvenience to be circumvented when it doesn't get its own way.
The judgement by the High Court today was in fact precisely about the DWP introducing retrospective legislation, which had the twofold effect of undoing the judgement of the Court of Appeal, and also to prevent the DWP having to pay substantial arrears of JSA to claimants who were affected by the 2011 regulations.

Miss Reilly argued successfully before the High Court that the DWP's decision to introduce retrospective legislation, violated her human rights under article 6 of the Human Rights Act, which is the right to a fair trial.

True to form, the DWP remaining dissatisfied with the judgement, intend to waste more taxpayers' money by appealing the decision of the High Court, rather than pay the sums of money due to the JSA claimants.

It seems that money is no object when they lodge appeals with the higher courts, yet at the same time they deny appellants legal aid when they wish to challenge the decisions of the DWP!
+1 #1 tintack 2014-07-04 13:43
They'll probably just change the law retrospectively to get round it. We've seen before that the DWP considers the law of the land to be a trifling inconvenience to be circumvented when it doesn't get its own way.

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