Good Samaritans Extra Legal Protection

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has announced that good Samaritans are to be given extra legal protection to guard against the perceived risks posed by the UK’s compensation culture and reduce red tape. 

He says “I want a society where common sense is the order of the day, and I believe this measure will help get us there”. In a move which the Ministry of Justice claim is designed to bring some common sense back to Britain’s health and safety culture, ‘everyday heroes’ are to be protected by new legislation which is going to be introduced next year. Under proposals outlined by the Ministry of Justice, Judges will be obliged to give weight to 3 mitigating factors when deciding negligence cases. 

They are: 
• If the person was doing something for ‘the benefit of society’: 
• If they had been acting in a ‘generally responsible way’: and 
• If they were ‘acting in emergency’. 

No doubt these mitigating factors will be debated in Court in order to determine what they actually mean in an every day context and how they should be applied to claims. However, we wonder whether they are necessary at all? These mitigating factors are generally the type of thing that a Judge would already give consideration to if it is relevant to the claim. So is the Justice Secretary making more red tape rather than reducing it? 

The Justice Secretary has said that these changes are being made for the good of society, and to send a clear message that the Government will continue to tackle the “compensation culture”. However, is this yet another example of the Government offering its support to the insurance industry, potentially to the detriment of the legitimate Claimant? 

The intention is to bring protection to do-gooders and clarity to Judges. Whilst we support this basic premise, we await with interest the developments that are sure to follow as these changes come in to force next year.

For more information on this or any other legal issues please contact us on 01332 225225.