Clause 1 does not provide a new defence against liability for negligence or breach of statutory duty, and the success or failure of a claim will not depend on it. It simply identifies a factor which the courts can already take into account in determining a claim. The court will also take all the other circumstances of the case into account.
Clause 1 does not provide a new defence against liability for negligence or breach of statutory duty, and the success or failure of a claim will not depend on it. The courts will be able to consider the factor embodied in clause 1 wherever they consider it to be relevant, as is the case now.
The Government do not intend to introduce a new clause to define desirable activity. The provision in Clause 1 of the Bill gives the court the flexibility to consider all the relevant circumstances of the case to reach a fair and just decision. Including a definition of ‘desirable activity’ could imply that certain types of desirable activity would have more weight than others, and would not reflect the existing law.
The Government fully understands the concerns that have been expressed about the judgment and are determined to find the best way to address the resulting issues for the claimants involved. As the Prime Minister has indicated, we are looking at this very carefully and hope to be in a position to make an announcement in the next couple of weeks.
Defining the phrase desirable activity is not necessary or appropriate. The concept which it embodies is the very well-established one of taking the wider social value of activities into account. This reflects the existing law and the courts are already able to—and do—take these matters into account when considering all the circumstances of an individual case.