Human rights claims expected as Scotland introduces legal aid

first_img Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Human rights claims expected as Scotland introduces legal aidOn 1 Feb 2001 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. The introduction of legal aid for employment tribunal cases in Scotland willtrigger claims from employees for similar rights in England and Wales, lawyersare warning. The Scottish Executive’s move is designed to pre-empt claims that theabsence of legal aid breaches the right to a fair trial under article 6 of theEuropean Convention of Human Rights. “It can only be a matter of time before actions are brought in Englandand Wales under the Human Rights Act challenging the absence of legal aid inemployment tribunals,” said employment lawyers at Beachcroft Wansbroughs. “Legal aid is, after all, already available for hearings in the EAT butmany complex points of law are thrashed out at an earlier stage.” The Scottish initiative has been dubbed a Chancer’s Charter and broughtvociferous opposition from the Scottish CBI, despite requirements that a casemust be “arguable” and too complex for the applicant to presenteffectively before it qualifies for funding. Less than a quarter of tribunal applicants are thought to have any legalrepresentation, despite the growth in no-win no-fee agreements. A human rights case could be given added weight by recent statisticssuggesting legal representation has a dramatic effect on the outcome oftribunal cases. Research by Incomes Data Services suggests a litigant under the notoriouslycomplex Disability Discrimination Act is more than twice as likely to succeedif represented by a solicitor or barrister. Representation has been shown tohave a significant impact on compensation levels, too. Moreover, proposals to allow tribunals to award costs of up to £10,000″can only strengthen the arguments of an employee who alleges the lack ofrepresentation is prejudicial to his or her interests,” Beachcrofts’lawyers added. last_img read more