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Clause 3 — Responsibility

Part of Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism Bill – in the House of Commons at 4:15 pm on 20th October 2014.

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Photo of Shailesh Vara Shailesh Vara The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice 4:15 pm, 20th October 2014

It is not for me or this place to dictate to the courts the decisions that they should come to. It is for us to make the law, and for the courts to take account of all the facts that may apply to that case and come to their decision. That is how the constitution of this country has operated for centuries, and will continue to, as far as we are concerned. The clause says that if a person carries out an activity in a way that demonstrates

“a generally responsible approach towards protecting the safety…of others”,

and, despite their best efforts, something goes wrong and somebody is injured, the court should take full account of the circumstances. That represents a change, in that case law does not currently oblige a court to consider whether a person took a generally responsible approach to safety during the activity in question. I believe that it is a desirable and beneficial change that is both fair and proportionate.

Amendment 3 seeks to limit the effect of the clause to people who have been taking a generally responsible approach to the safety of “employees or bystanders”. The hon. Member for Hammersmith indicated that that was intended to prevent the provision from being interpreted as extending to entirely non-safety-related matters, such as protecting shareholders’ profits.