Back to work schemes legally flawed: video & transcript on decision and repayment aims
Video below from outside the Supreme Court today where five justices found that government “back to work” schemes were legally flawed.
There is a transcript of Tessa Gregory’s (Public Interest Lawyers) speech below as it appears in the video (the video sound quality is not good). She details plans to pursue repayments for sanctions.
“We’re delighted that the Supreme Court has unanimously dismissed the government’s appeal and confirmed that the regulations under which most of the back to work schemes were initially created were unlawful. The court upheld the findings that Iain Duncan Smith acted beyond the powers given to him by parliament by failing to provide any detail about various schemes in the regulations and in any event, the required notice provisions have not been complied with.
Shortly after lodging his appeal, Iain Duncan Smith rushed emergency legislation through parliament which retrospectively amended the law. This effectively overturned the court of appeal’s judgement and shamefully rendered much of its own appeal proceedings academic.
Indeed the Supreme Court was moved to note that the government has rather unattractively taken up court time and public money seeking to establish something that it had already sought a rememdy for in parliament.
We have already issued judicial review proceedings challenging the validity of that retrospective legislation which following today, we will seek to extradite.
It is also though important to note that the judgement has real practical implications.
In addressing one of our arguments, the court found for the first time that the government has a duty as a matter of fairness to provide from the outset enough information for jobseekers about a given scheme to enable them to make informed and meaningful representations.
A failure to provide that informtion is likely to make it unlawful for the DWP to require people to participate on a given scheme, or to dock their benefits if they fail to do so. The court found that on the facts of this case, the secretary of state did not provide our clients with adequate information. For Jamie Wilson, who was stripped of his benefits for six months, that means that notwithstanding the restrospective legislation, we will now seek repayment of his benefits on that basis. We know that like Jamie and Cait, hundreds and thousands of other jobseekers have not been and continue not to be provided with information about the dizzying array of schemes. Following today’s judgement, any such jobseekers can object to sanctions that have been imposed and seek repayment of their benefits. It is staggering that Iain Duncan Smith has found himself in this position even after fast-tracking emergency restrospective legislation through parliament specifically designed to prevent repayment of benefits.
We intend to work with advice organsations to ensure that following this ruling, affected individuals have the right information and assistance. This case has expsoed an utterly shambolic system, where individuals are routinely being stripped of their subsistence level benefits after receiving inadequte and inaccurate information. Iain Duncan Smith has sought to brand our clients as job snobs. In reality, all they have been seeking is a system
that is fair and transparent.”
- Posted by: False Economy at 5:49pm on 30 October 2013
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