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Monday, 6 August 2012
Courts: 'Forced Labour' Work Scheme Is Legal
Government back-to-work schemes criticised as "forced labour" have been ruled lawful by the High Court.
A judge has rejected jobless graduate Cait Reilly's claim that a job programme requiring her to work for free at a Poundland discount store breached human rights laws banning slavery.
Mr Justice Foskett, sitting at the High Court in central London, said that "characterising such a scheme as involving or being analogous to 'slavery' or 'forced labour' seems to me to be a long way from contemporary thinking".
The ruling will come as a relief to the Government, for it was likely that all its back-to-work schemes would have been potentially invalid had it lost the legal challenge.
Miss Reilly, 23, from Birmingham, and 40-year-old unemployed HGV driver Jamieson Wilson, from Nottingham, both claimed the unpaid schemes they were on violated article four of the European Convention on Human Rights, which prohibits forced labour and slavery.
The judge said both Miss Reilly and Mr Wilson were each entitled to a declaration that there had been breaches of the 2011 jobseeker's allowance regulations in their cases.