Administrative and Public Law

"This niche Birmingham firm is well regarded for its work representing individuals in human rights claims. It enjoys a strong reputation for its representation of claimants affected by the war on terror, having acted for Iraqi civilians and the families of British soldiers killed in Iraq. The firm has expertise in international human rights law and acts for Daoud Mousa and nine others in the Baha Mousa public inquiry."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Philip Shiner leads the team and is considered to be "committed, driven, determined and admirable."

Band 1 (Philip Shiner)

Band 2 (Firm)


Civil Liberties

"This public law firm is renowned for its cutting-edge work defending the human rights of individuals connected to the Iraq war. It recently won success in the landmark ECHR case which condemned the UK government for breaching international human rights law for subjecting two Iraqis to the fear of execution in Iraq."

"KEY INDIVIDUALS Philip Shiner is an outstanding civil liberties solicitor who handles "terrific, ground-breaking cases" and "never gives up fighting for his clients."

Star Rating (Philip Shiner)

Band 2 (Firm)

Chambers and Partners
 
 

Legal Challenge to Government’s ‘Forced Labour’ Scheme

As reported in today’s Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/nov/16/young-jobseekers-work-pay-unemployment), Public Interest Lawyers (PIL) have begun a legal action challenging the Coalition Government’s ‘Mandatory Work’ Scheme, which it argues amounts to unlawful forced labour.

PIL sent a ‘letter-before-action’ last night to the Work and Pensions Secretary Ian Duncan-Smith – the first step in a High Court judicial review action on behalf of 33 year-old Jonathan Shaw from Birmingham.  PIL are arguing that the Mandatory Work Scheme amounts to exploitation, with jobseekers forced to undertake up to four weeks of unpaid work.  At the end of their placements, jobseekers are often not considered for permanent employment and many are simply replaced by other jobseekers who, like them, face losing their jobseeker’s allowance if they fail to carry out the work. 

 

Slavery and forced or compulsory labour is prohibited by UK and European human rights law, in particular by Article 4(2) of the European Convention on Human Rights.  There are limited exceptions for work such as that carried out in prison.  Also excluded is work forming part of a “normal civic obligation”, but such obligations are limited to work as part of jury service and military service and the like.  Forced labour has also been prohibited by international law since 1930.

 

Jonathan Shaw (33) completed an Access course in Humanities at a Birmingham college last year.  He wanted to go to university to study History, but felt unable to as a result of high tuition fees.  He has been out of work since March.  Like thousands of jobseekers, he now fears that at any moment a Jobcentre Plus adviser could decide to force him to undertake what he sees as a pointless and demeaning process, during which he will have no time to actively seek employment.  “Actively seeking employment” is one of the conditions on which Jobseeker’s Allowance is paid.

 

Jim Duffy said: “The answer to solving the country’s unemployment crisis is to empower and support people, not to punish them by forcing them to work in dead-end jobs for no pay.”

 

Tessa Gregory of PIL added: “This Government scheme of forced labour unlawfully exploits individuals.  The only beneficiaries are participating companies, who get their workers for free”.
 
The Government has 14 days in which to set out its position in full.
 
See also: 
 
Islamic Republic News Agency
 


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