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Judgment in Wilson/Reilly Case

Volume 558: debated on Tuesday 12 February 2013

The Court of Appeal has today ruled that the Government’s back to work schemes do not breach article 4 of the European convention on human rights.

While the judgment supports the principle and policy of our employment schemes, and acknowledges the care and resources we have dedicated to implementing them, the Court of Appeal has ruled that the Jobseeker’s Allowance (Employment, Skills and Enterprise) Regulations 2011 (“the ESE regulations”) do not describe the employment schemes to which they apply, as is required by the primary legislation. The Court of Appeal has therefore held the ESE regulations to be ultra vires and quashed them.

We are seeking permission to appeal against the Court of Appeal’s judgment and, if permission is granted, we will take our case to the Supreme Court. As we are currently seeking permission to appeal, claimants who have already served a sanction will not be able to appeal on the basis of the Court’s decision until our appeal is heard. We are considering a range of options to ensure we do not have to repay these sanctions.

Today we intend to lay new regulations, which will come into force immediately and enable us to continue to refer jobseekers allowance claimants to our employment schemes and to provide the best chance for people to find employment.