Property, Chancery & Commercial, Public Sector & Human Rights, Other Areas of Law
Government Amendment Removes Civil Liability for Breaches of EL Regs ... or does it?

The most eagle-eyed observers of Parliamentary process might have spotted a very recent Government amendment to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill (which is presently passing throught its Committee stages in the Commons).


If the amendment survives the legislative process it might have a very significant impact on all EL claims – apparently seeking to remove entirely civil liability for breach of health and safety legislation made under the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974. If this is the Government’s ambition it might be thought to return Employer’s Liability law to the status it had prior to the decision in Groves v Lord Wimborne [1898] 2 QB 402. The Commons debate on the amendment suggests that the Government intends to restrict all future workplace injury claims to actions in common law negligence only. Statutory Health and Safety regulation would retain relevance (primarily) in the criminal law.


The link to the amendment and the debate (such as it was) is:




I suppose it is a measure of the level of Parliamentary debate and the quality of today’s legislators that this went through with only the most limited scrutiny and there has been no media coverage of this proposal either.


It remains to be seen what the outcome of this process might be: the removal of strict (civil) liability (of the Stark v PO kind) only or something more  fundamental (as the Government’s ambition would seem to indicate). Whether the judiciary will “play ball” is another issue altogether.


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