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UNITE LEGAL BRIEFING JANET FINNEY WWW.thompsons.law.co.uk.

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Presentation on theme: "UNITE LEGAL BRIEFING JANET FINNEY WWW.thompsons.law.co.uk."— Presentation transcript:

1 UNITE LEGAL BRIEFING JANET FINNEY

2 Unite members – legal services Work related employment advice and representation Work related criminal advice and representation CICA MIB Free Wills Free half hour advice Personal Injury - CCFA Friends and family

3 Thompsons West Midlands Branch Incorporating Birmingham, Stoke and Wolverhampton offices Linking services across the West Midlands region Streamlining relationship and service provided to union members Preparing for forthcoming legal changes

4 LEGAL CHANGES ENTERPRISE AND REGULATORY REFORM BILL (currently before the House of Lords) LEGAL AID, SENTENCING AND PUNISHMENT OF OFFENDERS ACT

5 DAVID CAMERON OCTOBER 2010 “Good health and safety is vitally important. But all too often good, straightforward legislation designed to protect people from major hazards has been extended inappropriately to cover every walk of life, no matter how low the risk. We simply cannot go on like this. That’s why I asked Lord Young to do this review and put some common sense back into health and safety”.

6 COMMON SENSE, COMMON SAFETY

7 LORD YOUNG’S CONSIDERATIONS The 1974 HSWA has provided protection for workers for almost 40 years. Despite this the standing of health and safety in the eyes of the public has never been lower. Part of the responsibility lies with the EU where the Framework Directive of 1989 has made risk assessments compulsory across all occupations.

8 Lord Young’s recommendations ‘Simplify’ Risk Assessments for ‘low risk’ workplaces, offices, classrooms and shops RIDDOR reporting – only if absence is 7 days or more Reduce incidence of HSE inspections and investigations Cut red tape for small businesses Full support to Lord Jackson’s review into the cost of litigation.

9 CAMERON NEEDS MORE In March 2011, the Government established an Independent Review of Health and Safety legislation. This review was chaired by leading risk management specialist Professor Ragnar Löfstedt. Reclaiming health and safety for all: An independent review of health and safety regulation was published on 28 November 2011.

10 Loftstedt

11 “The general sweep of requirements set out in health and safety legislation are broadly fit for purpose” Loftstedt “Reclaiming Health and Safety for All” November 2011

12 Professor Ragnar Löfstedt. There is no case for radically altering current health and safety legislation. The scope for changing health and safety regulation is limited by the requirement to implement EU law. The safety law of strict liability might be unfair to employers who have done nothing wrong.

13 PROPOSALS FOLLOWING LOFTSTEDT Enterprise & Regulatory Reform Bill Clause 61– far beyond Loftstedt’s suggestions Amendments to the HSWA 1974 Regulatory provisions that impose strict liability should be reviewed and either qualified with ‘reasonable practicability’ or amended to prevent civil liability from attaching to the provisions.

14 NOT WHAT LOFTSTEDT INTENDED “There is no case for radically altering current health and safety legislation. I am concerned my review could be misused”.

15 INJURED WORKERS/STRICT LIABILITY Strict Liability for breach of statutory duty means the injured worker doesn’t have to prove who was at fault. Simply rely upon HSWA 1974 and EU ‘6 pack’ regulations to show the employer should have: Guarded a piece of machinery Put safety measures in place when working at heights Separated vehicles from pedestrian walkways Provided safe work equipment

16 IMPACT OF THE ENTERPRISE PROPOSALS Workers injured through no fault of their own will need to show that the employer knew or ought to have known that the equipment being used was unguarded or that a particular working practice was unsafe in order to receive compensation.

17 ENTERPRISE & REGULATORY REFORM BILL The changes proposed by government will set health and safety law back over 100 years. Encourage poor employers to pay lip service to health and safety generally Shift the burden of proof – but to where? The tax payer/ the state ? Windfall for the insurance industry

18 Young & loftstedt The scope for changing health and safety regulation is limited by the requirement to implement EU law. Has the government thought this through Thompsons undertaking research If we are correct the cost to the tax payer will be huge

19 Unite members – legal services Work related employment advice and representation Work related criminal advice and representation CICA MIB Free Wills Free half hour advice Personal Injury - CCFA Friends and family

20 Current service and funding Personal injury cases fund employment and other legal services ATE insurance – premium recoverable from defendant insurers in successful case payable to Unite Success fee – recoverable from defendant insurers. Referral fees - Unite

21 Benefits of current funding Cases insured so claimant not at risk of costs Union cases run on a 51% chance of success No limits placed on funding Success fees fund : Time investigating cases that are not run Difficult cases, marginal/complex cases, group actions and test cases Referral fees – income for the union to support other services to members

22 Sir Rupert Jackson – Civil Litigation Reforms Jackson report published January 2010 LASPOA – Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act passed 2012 Section 2 – Litigation Funding & costs – effective April 2013 Huge savings for the insurance industry

23 Jackson Reforms- April 2013 ATE insurance – no longer recoverable from defendant – injured claimant to pay Success fees – no longer recoverable from defendant - injured claimant to pay by deduction from damages for injury, capped at 25% Referral fee ban DBA’s – Damage Based Agreements – contingency based. Capped at 25% injury award

24 Jackson Reforms – April 2013 Fixed costs RTA - Damages 1 – 10K costs limited to £500 PI Claims – Damages 1 – 10K costs limited to £900

25 DIRECT REFERRALS By telephone to First Assist – 24 hours/7 days Member provides membership number, name and address. First assist will access UNITE system and directly transfer the call to the union lawyers. Union lawyers will take information and open case in Unite system

26 DIRECT REFERRALS Telephone referrals in the region Member will call district or local office and provide membership details. Unite office will then directly transfer the call to the appropriate union law firm using the free phone number. NB. It must be the member who speaks to the law firm and not Unite.

27 DIRECT REFERRALS Application forms – must go in a pre-paid envelope and be posted by the member to the union law firm. Large workplaces – Dedicated mobile phones for use by members Large workplaces – pre-paid envelopes Website referrals – changes will be made to incorporate the free phone number.

28 Personal Injury Damages Personal Injury Damages recovered for Unite members in the West Midlands Region for the period October – December 2012 £2,082,596

29 Working Together Organise and recruit more members Raise awareness – benefits of being a TU member Numbers critical Ensure all accidents, near misses and complaints are reported Being a Trade Union member may be the only way injured people can bring a claim.


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