The President of APIL has strongly criticised the new Heroism Bill as ‘poor from every angle’ in his blog on the not-for-profit personal injury representative body’s website.
John Spencer, who took over as APIL President recently, declared that although the concept of the new Bill was admittedly eye catching, it also posed a danger to vulnerable people and at best was needless.
The Heroism Bill was rolled out as part of the Queen’s Speech over a month ago and focuses on protecting volunteers and small businesses from negligence claims when acting, as Chris Grayling put it, ‘in the common good’. The idea is very much a popular one, so that for example a small community group can have an event and not be sued if someone does not have red carpet health and safety protection.
But Spencer hits out saying that the important question of safety is being sidelined and raises questions over what could happen if those employing volunteers dropped safety standards and did not carry out risk assessment. He claims this puts children and other vulnerable people in harm’s way.
Furthermore he criticises the government for basing their decision to change the law on a report that did not provide a true representation of the number of people who were volunteering.
Scott Rees & Co Managing Partner, Royston Smith, supported Mr Spencer’s views, saying: “The fact that they have based their decision on a dated national survey, whereby there were only 300 hundred respondents, says a lot for the government’s decision making processes, especially when more recent studies prove it to be false and misleading.”
“Chris Grayling is obsessed with this idea of a ‘Compensation Culture’. Past governments have shown this to be a media myth, but our Lord Chancellor seems to want to believe it. I suppose he will want to ban the sale of Unicorn horns next! We have consistently been subjected to daft laws like the Heroism Bill, that display a lack of careful research or attention to what is actually happening in the real world.”
“This bill, as drafted, will not change the way that insurers grant cover in reality, but will introduce huge uncertainty to both event organisers and victims as to what is a claim and what is not. It is adding doubt, complexity and subjectivity into the already overly complex litigation arena. Bear in mind, this Government has created a portal for simple claims and has then set about making every claim more complex. They are running the risk of making their own portal redundant.”
John Spencer’s blog is the first of many that will be printed on the APIL website in the coming months as they look to invite the various executive committee members, co-ordinators and secretaries across the UK to contribute.
Click here to read his full blog.