Compensation Bill – What it all means…


Achieving Royal Assent is just the end of the beginning.  The future requires that society, every individual and organisation, public, private and voluntary, uses the clarity of this new law. This means not diminishing opportunties achievement and the realisation of potential through risk-averse behaviour. This particularly pertains to education, work with young people and all management where 'I must cover my back' attitudes preclude enterprise, creativity and opportunitity making and taking.

The Compensation Act was passed on July 25  2006 to combat this compensation perception issue.  Judges now may to take into account the wider issues of society when finding fault or blame in compensation cases.

Introduction to the Campaign for Adventure Parliamentary Lobby:

The CfA has run a Parliamentary Lobby since January, 2000, comprising a presentation to MPs and Lords in Portcullis House, Private Member Bill on Volunteering raising the key issues and hard fought but, realistically, failing at third reading. There were five meetings with ministers, an Early Day Motion, an Adjournment Debate and the All Party Parliamentary Group ‘ARISC’ with myself ‘Clerking’. The Compensation Bill launched in the Lords Chamber in November, 2005; it received Royal Assent on the 25th July, 2006, with Clauses 1 & 2 having immediate effect. Sir Christian Bonington, Libby Purves, Professor Heinz Wolff and Sir Paul Judge have contributed to the work of ‘ARISc’.

Dept. Cultural Affairs – Baroness Ashton:

‘The Bill will provide better safeguards for consumers of claims management  services and will reassure those concerned about possible litigation that the law of negligence takes the social value of activities into account and that they will not be found liable if they adopt reasonable standards and procedures.’

What changes?

The Compensation Bill and the parliamentary debates recorded in Hansard are now available to courts to better balance their judgements according to good intentions. In time case-law will prevent cases even reaching court and will stop insurance companies paying out on spurious claims, which currently happens to avoid defence costs – with resultant problems of insurance cost increases for PSE providers & sports clubs, and for teachers, youth-workers, volunteers and sports & social activity organisers be reluctant to undertake discretionary activities, fear of litigation being the number one cause of their not so doing (CCPR research, 2003).

 Specifically, the law now states:

Clause 1    Deterrent effect of potential liability
   A court considering a claim in negligence or breach of statutory duty may, in determining whether the defendant should have taken particular steps to meet a standard of care (whether by taking precautions against a risk or otherwise), have regard to whether a requirement to take those steps might-
    (a) prevent a desirable activity from being undertaken at all, to a particular extent or in a particular way, or

           (b) discourage persons from undertaking functions in connection with a desirable activity.

 

Clause 2    Apologies, offers of treatment or other redress
   An apology, an offer of treatment or other redress, shall not of itself amount to an admission of negligence or breach of statutory duty

 

Clause 3.   Provision of regulated claims management services

     “Those providing claims management services will be required to give consumers clear advice about the validity of their claim, options for funding the costs and provide a complaints mechanism if things go wrong.”

        (Full government statements: http://www.dca.gov.uk/legist/compensation.htm)

 

What this could mean:

With wider understanding through good media coverage, confidence should build in society's leaders and managers. The quality of debate will raise greater understanding of social and youth work generally and of current needs, barriers and opportunities in enterprise, personal development and social worlds.