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Government’s Back to Work legislation incompatible with ECHR

R(on the application of Reilly (No. 2) and another) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, [2014] EWHC 2182 (Admin)

The High Court of England and Wales ruled that emergency legislation, Jobseekers (Back to Work Schemes) Act 2013, interferes with human rights protected under Article 6(1) ECHR. 

The retrospective legislation was introduced by the government last year three days after the Court of Appeal found flaws in the Jobseeker’s Allowance (Employment, Skills and Enterprise Scheme) Regulations 2011.  Under these regulations, job-seekers were required to work for no pay.  As a sanction, the job-seekers allowance could be withheld from those who refused to participate.  The introduction of the 2013 Act had the effect of retrospectively validating the 2011 Regulations ensuring that the government was not forced to repay claimants who had been penalised for not participating in the ‘work for no pay’ scheme.  

A spokesperson for the Department of Work and Pensions has stated that the Government will appeal and they will not be repaying any sanctions pending that appeal.  It is estimated that the government could have to pay out £130 million to penalised claimants.

Click here to read an article from The Guardian. Details of the original case that led to this judgment can be found here.

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