Government loses workfare case

Thousands of jobless claimants denied benefits under flagship back-to-work schemes could be in line to share £130m in compensation, after the High Court ruled that the emergency legislation behind the government’s back-to-work scheme was ‘incompatible’ with the European Convention on Human Rights.

The Department for Work and Pensions introduced emergency retrospective legislation in 2013 to stop pay-outs after regulations governing the schemes were found to be legally flawed in an earlier decision by top judges. However, Mrs Justice Lang ruled the retrospective legislation interfered with the ‘right to a fair trial’ under article 6 (1) of the convention.

The case stems from a challenge brought by Cait Reilly in 2012, who maintained that her human rights were breached by her having to participate in an unpaid work placement in a Poundland store, or risk losing her jobseeker’s allowance. The 24-year-old graduate said she had not been told that she would consequently have to give up her voluntary work in a museum, where her career ambitions lay. The Court of Appeal agreed with Ms Reilly that she had not been properly informed about the scheme…

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