Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Courts says 'work for your benefit' scheme not slave labour

R (on behalf of Reilly & Wilson) v Department of Work and Pensions saw Article 4 ECHR and the following question considered: Is it slave labour and therefore unlawful to force an individual in receipt of Job Seekers Allowance to participate in a 'work for your benefit' scheme?

Miss Reilly was a geology graduate who was required to work in Poundland for two weeks and Mr Wilson was a HGV driver who was required to work for an organisation delivering refurbished furniture to the needy in the community for 30 hours per week for a period of 26 weeks.. Both were required to do this if they were to receive their benefits.

Both Claimants claimed this amounted to a breach of Article 4. The outcome was that  such schemes could not be said to amount to 'slavery' or 'forced labour'.

Reduction in Judges' salaries leads to judicial retention warning

Reduction in Judges' salaries leads to judicial retention warning

The combination of a three-year pay freeze and pension cuts “is likely to cause judicial retention and recruitment problems,” the Lord Chief Justice has warned as a pay freeze has reduced judges' salaries by up to 18 per cent.

The LCJ said in his report for the period January 2010 to June 2012 that the Senior Salaries Review Body (SSRB) had calculated that the pay of circuit judges had been cut by 15.9 per cent.

The salaries of district judges had fallen by 16.5 per cent, the report found, High Court judges by 17.1 per cent and lord justices of appeal by 18.4 per cent.

Judges’ pensions were assessed by the SSRB as amounting to 34 per cent of their total reward.

“In relation to pensions, as elsewhere in the public sector, a contribution liability has been imposed, further reducing take-home pay,” Lord Judge said.

“The extent to which the government seeks to reduce the annual accrual value of benefits under the judicial pension schemes is unknown. Whatever it is, it will reduce the total reward of a judge still further.”

 Lord Judge said in the report, published last week, that the “morale, recruitment and retention of judges of the highest calibre depends in part on the adequacy of their financial reward.”

He said the SSRB had said it was increasingly concerned about the morale and motivation of its ‘remit groups’ because of the deterioration in their terms and conditions.

“This observation is self-explanatory,” Lord Judge said. “The cumulative effect is likely to cause judicial recruitment and retention problems.”

In The Solicitor's Journal he said:

“Consequent constraints have affected and will continue to affect every aspect of national life, and the administration of justice is not, and has not, been immunised from the economic crisis.”