High Court throws out Duncan Smith’s “flawed and tawdry” retrospective workfare law

Criminal: Iain Duncan Smith has made the UK government into a criminal regime, illegally victimising its most vulnerable citizens.

Criminal: Iain Duncan Smith has made the UK government into a criminal regime, illegally victimising its most vulnerable citizens.

Iain Duncan Smith took an metaphorical slap in the face from the High Court today when Mrs Justice Lang said his retroactive law to refuse docked payments to jobseekers was not legal.

The Jobseekers (Back to Work Schemes) Act 2013 was rushed onto the statute books after the DWP discovered the rules under which it had docked Jobseekers’ Allowance from 228,000 people, who had refused to take part in Workfare schemes, were illegal.

The ruling does not mean that everyone who was penalised for refusing to take part, or for leaving the scheme once they had started it and realised what it was, may claim back the JSA that had been withdrawn from them.

But anyone who appealed against a benefit sanction on the basis of the previous decision will be entitled to win their appeals and be repaid the withheld benefits – as Vox Political advised at the time. That payout could be as high as £130 million.

The judge said retrospective application of the 2013 law conflicted with the European Convention on Human Rights and “interfered with the right to a fair trial” of all those affected.

(This is, of course, one reason why the government wants to repeal the Human Rights Act – your human rights obstruct ministers’ ability to abuse you.)

This is the latest twist in a legal challenge brought by Cait Reilly, a graduate who fell foul of the scheme, in 2012. She demanded a judicial review on the grounds that being forced to give up voluntary work in a museum (she wanted to be a museum curator) to stack shelves in Poundland breached her human rights.

Poundland no longer takes part in mandatory work activity schemes run by the UK government.

Her challenge succeeded when the Court of Appeal ruled that she had not been properly notified about the scheme. This meant that the government was guilty of criminal acts in removing benefit from Ms Reilly and hundreds of thousands of others.

In response, the Coalition passed an Act that retrospectively legalised its actions – but claimants argued that this was unfair and demanded their compensation.

In the meantime, Iain Duncan Smith’s own appeal was heard – and dismissed – by the Supreme Court.

And after the Act was passed, it became clear that the Coalition had known since 2011 that the policies it was enforcing do more harm than good and are not in the national interest.

Mrs Justice Lang said today (July 4) that “the absence of any consultation with representative organisations” as well as the lack of scrutiny by Parliamentary committees had led to “misconceptions about the legal justification for the retrospective legislation”.

The 2013 Act introduced a new “draconian provision, unique to this cohort of claimants” which was “not explained or justified” by the government in Parliament “at the time”.

Mrs Justice Lang rejected the Secretary of State’s assertion that flaws in the 2011 Regulations were simply “a technicality or a loophole”, that the 2013 Act sought to give effect to Parliament’s ‘original intention’ or that repayments to benefits claimants would be “an undeserved windfall”.

She also recognised that it would be “unjust to categorise the claimants in the Cait Reilly case as claimants “who have not engaged with attempts made by the state to return them to work”, as asserted by the Department for Work and Pensions.

“This case is another massive blow to this Government’s flawed and tawdry attempts to make poor people on benefits work for companies, who already make massive profits, for free,” said solicitor Phil Shiner of Public Interest Lawyers, who appeared for the unemployed.

“Last year the Supreme Court told Iain Duncan Smith and the Coalition government that the scheme was unlawful. In this case the High Court has now told the Government that the attempt to introduce retrospective legislation, after the DWP had lost in the Court of Appeal, is unlawful and a breach of the Human Rights Act and is a further disgraceful example of how far this Government is prepared to go to flout our constitution and the rule of law. [bolding mine]

“I call on the DWP to ensure that the £130 million of benefits unlawfully withheld from the poorest section of our society is now repaid.”

So there it is, in black and white. Iain Duncan Smith has made the Coalition government a criminal organisation, guilty of 228,000 human rights violations.

This is a serious matter; some of these people may have been put in serious financial hardship as a result of the Coalition’s actions. One hopes very much that nobody died but if they did, those fatalities should be added to the many thousands who have passed away as a result of Iain Duncan Smith’s homicidal regime for claimants of incapacity benefits.

Let us not forget, also, that we remain at the mercy of these tyrants. Iain Duncan Smith has announced he intends to waste yet more taxpayers’ money on another appeal. In the meantime, a DWP spokeswoman said the legislation remained “in force” and the government would not be compensating anyone pending the outcome of its appeal.

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  1. ellie guest July 4, 2014 at 7:47 pm - Reply

    why cant we the public sack these crooks , we supposedly elect them so we should be able to kick the corrupt bar stewards out

    • Joanna July 4, 2014 at 10:06 pm - Reply

      we didn’t elect them!

    • Tom Finney July 5, 2014 at 2:21 am - Reply

      we can and will, hopefully !!!! yes vote for Scotland !!!!!

    • Stephen Paul Tamblin July 6, 2014 at 8:54 am - Reply

      I have had to wait for 10 weeks to change my sick benefit I have depression and anxiety attacks I am absolutely climbing the walls Cameron and his criminals have no respect for the poor he only likes the rich has party for for them please every body get them out of no 10

      • Maria July 6, 2014 at 1:11 pm - Reply

        Your lucky, I am deaf, can’t the phone in a office, make mistakes when talking face to face, have sticklers syndrome which means my joints are as good as an old person, not very strong and I can struggle and do things, yes but not all day in job, day after day after day I go weaker. Have anxiety now have depression after what as happened to me. I’m fit for work and face no barriers to work at all, so they say, they won’t even help me acquire a phone I can use, text one perhaps, to enable me to look for a job. I can’t face all that nonsense they put you through on the dole, my elderly parents support me, they get in to debt, its been like that for two and half years. it’s disgraceful that the small minority that commit benefit fraud are still at it, only the needy suffer and yet I know there are people much worse off than me. I spent two and half years every day to think of a solution and I still don’t know what to do.

  2. […] Iain Duncan Smith took an metaphorical slap in the face from the High Court today when Mrs Justice Lang said his retroactive law to refuse docked payments to jobseekers was not legal. The Jobseeker…  […]

  3. thelovelywibblywobblyoldlady July 4, 2014 at 7:56 pm - Reply

    Excellent news! The only downside to all this of course is that if compensation is paid, it will be the taxpayer that will have to get their cheque book out. I think IDS should pay it out of his own pocket; he knew what he was doing but because of his supreme arrogance he thought he’d get away it and that the little people wouldn’t fight back!

    • Mike Sivier July 4, 2014 at 7:57 pm - Reply

      I agree. Make Iain Duncan Smith pay up!

      • Nick July 4, 2014 at 8:22 pm - Reply

        he wont pay or budge he will just continue to go to court and appeal and at some point succeed

        IDS is a very dangerous person and his constituents think the world of him I’m not sure why ?

        maybe he protects them for welfare so that they don’t suffer ?

        • Mike Sivier July 4, 2014 at 8:56 pm - Reply

          I don’t think he’s going to succeed. What point of law can he bring up? The judge’s decision on the evidence is final.

          • Nick July 4, 2014 at 9:25 pm

            he will try his best mike being spurred on by his backers and friends

            He had a very simple mandate to undertake which was welfare reform and he being a so called catholic should have found that task very easy to undertake even i could have done it with a little help so there is no excuse whatsoever in its failing

          • Mike Sivier July 4, 2014 at 10:19 pm

            I think we can all agree that he will try, and I think we can all agree that he is utterly incompetent. That is why I think we can all agree that he will fail.

      • Maria July 4, 2014 at 9:06 pm - Reply

        why is it for him to have limitless appeals at the expense of the taxpayer? but if anyone who has great need of an appeal is forced to beg for one and be lucky if that if they get legal aid for it.

      • Joanna July 4, 2014 at 10:03 pm - Reply

        Mike please tell me this isn’t satire!?!

        • Mike Sivier July 4, 2014 at 10:21 pm - Reply

          This isn’t satire.
          And I really do think that Iain Duncan Smith should be made to pay every penny that is owed to the jobseekers he has robbed.

      • Joanna July 4, 2014 at 10:08 pm - Reply

        that is one way to send him to the poorhouse, the next step towards that end, is his wife kicking him out!!

  4. jaypot2012 July 4, 2014 at 8:08 pm - Reply

    He is getting so near to destroying himself and I am getting really happy at the thought of his self-destruction :)
    The coalition are criminals, not just because of this but due to the draconian laws and the regulations for any benefits. We are called scroungers, skivers etc. IDS purposely lies about statistics, he lies about benefit scroungers and all the time he is breaking the law. The rest of the coalition are allowing all of this to happen, so they too are, in all intents and purposes, as much as a criminal as he is.
    This is the election year – IDS is making mistake after mistake – this is going to show the tories for what they really are and they won’t like that. IDS will have to go and the sooner the better I say.
    Take IDS, McVey, Freud and any other person who has been complicit to the absolute destitution of the vulnerable, and that includes Cameron and Clegg, and put them all on trial for crimes against humanity.
    As for the thousands who are due money (which was theirs in the first place), I hope each and every one of them get all that is owed to them – and I hope they have a jolly good time with it :) Pay a few bills, stock up on food and treat the kids with new clothes and toys – maybe a couple of days out somewhere – and good luck all of you :)

    • Nick July 4, 2014 at 9:22 pm - Reply

      The only reason people have suffered in the first place is because their forms have not been filled in correctly by a qualified person IE doctor or lawyer

      We are not allowed justice it would seam we have to pay for it and it is very expensive

      Had we been allowed access to a proper representation then many lives would have been saved and if were the prime minister then that is how i would proceed so that all of this welfare reform mess was dealt with in a correct manor

      what we have had over the past few years is an equivalent of a kangaroo court style of justice just like what you would see in the middle east and that’s not on

      • Mike Sivier July 4, 2014 at 10:18 pm - Reply

        Those forms – whether JSA, PIP, ESA or whatever – are supposedly intended for ordinary people to be able to fill out. If the only reason they’ve suffered is that they tried to do this, then that’s a major concern about the government and its regulations.

        What this shows is that we ARE allowed justice; it also shows that our government – which is now confirmed as a criminal regime – is determinedly refusing to acknowledge it.

        If it was a kangaroo court, then there would have been no opportunity for ordinary people to win their case, as they have in this instance.

    • Joanna July 4, 2014 at 10:11 pm - Reply

      they will just stick all of their wealth under their spouses names.

  5. jaypot2012 July 4, 2014 at 8:09 pm - Reply

    Reblogged this on Jay's Journal and commented:
    Oh he’s in the sh!t – that’s how many appeals last week that he lost, and now this – I’m going to my bed smiling tonight :)

    • Tom Finney July 5, 2014 at 2:28 am - Reply

      Love it when “Scum” like him get a bit of “Justice” !!!!!! ☺ would love to meet that so called “Bully” at “Our” Fire Station” !!! we,d be oh so frightened, ———— ” NOT” !!!!!!!! by that waste of oxygen !!! and skin !!!

      • Tom Finney July 5, 2014 at 2:31 am - Reply

        thank you so much, for your “Moderation” or is that just more media blocking ??? Independence please !!! and “block” that if you like !!!! block 35 + years , of firefighting experience too if you like !!!!

        • Mike Sivier July 5, 2014 at 10:33 am - Reply

          Is this comment aimed at me? You posted your comments between 2.20 and 2.35 in the morning, when I was asleep. Any comment made while I’m asleep is queued until the morning when I can moderate it. I have to do this because otherwise there are very foolish people who will try to put very foolish things onto my site, aiming to get me into legal trouble. You will see that all your comments are now available to view. I await your apology.

  6. Yosserian Hughes. July 4, 2014 at 8:24 pm - Reply

    How many times have the courts ruled against him? And of those times, how many times has he (On behalf of the DWP) appealed & lost?

    ALL those times when the courts have ruled against him show his incompetence.

    Then we come to how many court orders he has not complied with……

    ALL of which show his contempt AND arrogance AND deceit.

    I could go on, but I really can’t decide what he is……Except to part (for now) with this

    The man is either the luckiest cretin to have ever walked this earth, or has some sort of dossier of grubby secrets on a lot of powerful people that has him remain in the job AND maintain his civil liberties with what’s tantamount to impunity.

    How the people of chingford & wherever the other place is, vote for the spiteful ‘kin imbecile, defies all logical thought & reason.

    A lot has been made of the Suarezz bitin’ incident recently; comparing his mental state to a kindergarten tantrum……….Are there that few of his constituents can see that George’s mien is just as bad – if not worse?

    You only need be familiar with the case of Lauren Duut to see that he doesn’t give a sh**e about his own constituents – he wants them deported if they challenge his “decree”.

    • Mike Sivier July 4, 2014 at 8:59 pm - Reply

      I hope Nick is reading this – he was just wondering whether RTU (as we call him here) is looking after his constituents a little overzealously and that’s why they keep voting him back in.

    • HomerJS July 5, 2014 at 9:07 am - Reply

      You don’t think that he’s got the Child Abuse Dossier do you?

  7. Yosserian Hughes. July 4, 2014 at 8:31 pm - Reply

    Oh, I forgot to add……

    He even changed his name from George to Iain, and added the “Duncan” so he could assume a double-barrelled name – possibly to give him some delusion that it’s “stately” to have two surnames instead of one…….

    Showing his vanity.

    Similarities with Joachim Ribbentrop – who bought the “Von” title, by paying his aunt to adopt him…..when he was in his 30’s!!

    And he was a nazi too………

  8. Owen Williams July 4, 2014 at 8:54 pm - Reply

    He’ll just keep appealing and appealing, over and over and over — because he has nigh-unlimited resources to throw at appeals and legal fees, whereas Cait Reilly and company undoubtedly do not. And even if the Court does ever insist DWP remunerate those affected, the Govt will just shrug their collective shoulders and say, “We spent it all paying for the appeals, LOL!”

    • Mike Sivier July 4, 2014 at 8:57 pm - Reply

      It doesn’t work like that, Owen!

      • Owen Williams July 5, 2014 at 1:19 am - Reply

        Not trying to be funny, Mike, but tell that to this sorry shower. They don’t seem to have much concern for such petty things as the rule of law and the way things *should* work — they make up their own rules as they go along, and IDS particularly; “one rule for us,” as the old adage goes. But I’m sure the likes of myself doesn’t need to tell you that.

        IDS will simply keep appealing, until either he wins by default when Reilly and company run out of money, or a judge with enough power and decency smacks him down by calling out DWP’s repeated appealing for what it is — contempt of court — and smacks them down for it by denying the right to appeal further, setting the decision in stone. Personally, I fear that the former is more likely than the latter.

        • Mike Sivier July 5, 2014 at 10:48 am - Reply

          I think he’s on his last chance. He needs to find a point of law on which he can appeal, and I don’t think there is one. He has already lost an appeal to the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, referring to this case. If he wants to appeal now, that decision will mitigate against him. It is possible that he will be refused permission even to have a hearing in the Court of Appeal.

  9. Colin M. Taylor July 4, 2014 at 9:27 pm - Reply

    Surely, with PROOF of these Human Rights breaches, it is time for the UN to send in troops to arrest IDS and his lackeys and arraign them before the International Court in the Hague on charges of Crimes Against Humanity

    • Mike Sivier July 4, 2014 at 10:20 pm - Reply

      The UN will not step in after a court victory against the government – it shows that UK law is working. Meanwhile the death toll mounts…

  10. Chris Kitcher July 4, 2014 at 10:02 pm - Reply

    But unless the media take up this case,the chances of which are zero, IDS will get away with it.

    • Mike Sivier July 4, 2014 at 10:20 pm - Reply

      I found it on the BBC News website, which is a step in the right direction.

      • Nick July 4, 2014 at 11:20 pm - Reply

        keep the pressure on mike and tom it’s a pity guido hasn’t stepped in to bring him down as he would be much quicker i think ?

        • Mike Sivier July 5, 2014 at 10:49 am - Reply

          Oh dear, Nick. Guido’s on the other side, you know.

  11. Jeffrey Davies July 5, 2014 at 9:55 am - Reply

    but whots worse in all this that labour supported them in it isn’t it a crying shame but they made every one under them pay for whot so that the banksters walk about freely

  12. Ginny N Bruce July 5, 2014 at 10:05 am - Reply

    What he’ll do is carry on appealing hoping that they win the next election. If/when they do they’ll get rid on the human rights and the next time they appeal with no human rights the appeal will fail. Simples

    • Mike Sivier July 5, 2014 at 10:23 am - Reply

      That’s a very good reason for you (and me and all the rest) to do all you can to make sure they don’t win any more elections, then.

  13. gavinpollock July 5, 2014 at 4:46 pm - Reply

    How much have they already spent trying to avoid paying benefits? IDS tries to justify his lunatic ideological mission on the grounds of saving the country money, but he’s wasting millions just to save face.

    Of course, it’s never really been about saving the taxpayer money.

  14. George July 5, 2014 at 5:48 pm - Reply

    Hahaha IDS is kicked in the b*****ks, thinks he can screw the people, i say well to the wee lassie who took IDS to court and hell mend him, he should now be sacked and Cameron should resign from his easy sit on his a$$ job.

  15. […] Iain Duncan Smith, the man this blog describes as ‘RTU’ (standing for ‘Returned To Unit’ in tribute to his failed Army career) is reportedly furious at this intervention from the United Nations, which has a duty to intervene if governments of member countries descend into criminality, as has happened with the UK (here’s just one example). […]

  16. Gary July 6, 2014 at 12:16 pm - Reply

    can you please tell me Mike. what will happen with the last line of the article. even though the court ruled that all payments should be returned, the DWP said no we won’t. do they have a leg to stand on.

    what does it mean now that they have been declared a criminal regime, will they be investigated now for stealing 3500 of our schools and handing them to their privatised mates as ‘academies’ also

    does it mean that Jeremy Hunts flouting of a court decision to sell off the nhs without consulting the public, effectively through the back door is now going to come under scrutiny to stop 56 of his tory friends from stealing the nhs and depriving people from fair and free medical.

    are anymore court investigations going on, like the punishment of severely disabled people to recieve ILF

    or the control of the BBC by parachuted tories into the director general seats, so that the taxpayer funded beeb is biased and news unworthy

    • Mike Sivier July 6, 2014 at 1:01 pm - Reply

      To the first question, my best answer is that I don’t think Iain Duncan Smith is likely to win the right to appeal. He’s had one appeal to the Supreme Court on matters relating to this law already and that was refused. He would need a very good reason this time – especially since Judge Wikeley was so scathing about his last attempted grounds for appeal.

      As for the rest, they are separate matters and will require separate investigations. To be honest, I think the appropriate time will be after the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have been voted out of office.

      • Gary July 6, 2014 at 2:06 pm - Reply

        thank-you, it is so refreshing to see the Tories lose out on matters relating to human rights and breaking the law, it makes me jump to the conclusion that maybe their other criminal activities are under investigation. and the fact that they are doing it to so many people, makes you hope that there are other Cait’s out there who initiated this long legal process. then you realize that Cait was the first and only one to do this because back then the Tories hadn’t eroded the legal aid rights, and also the scale of their crimes wasn’t then coming to the surface

    • Nick July 6, 2014 at 1:26 pm - Reply

      Gary my view is that the DWP will not pay out. what this means is that IDS will keep his job and I’ve always stated I’m seldom wrong

      hopefully mike will be right but being from the establishment myself my view is normally correct

      IDS is a very big player and very powerful far more so then any celebrity and he knows that only to well and will continue to defy any legal system be it here in the UK or the EU

      • Mike Sivier July 6, 2014 at 1:59 pm - Reply

        Nick, I have a problem with you posting your opinions and then adding things like “I’m seldom wrong” or “my view is normally correct”.

        It deters people from trying. Please, by all means put forward your opinion on what these people will do, but don’t put other people off any action that they might take to stop our criminal government from victimising people by telling us, in effect, that it won’t do any good.

        The whole point of this lawsuit is that action by the little people against the big government DOES do some good!

        • Nick July 6, 2014 at 2:24 pm - Reply

          sorry mike :)

        • Nick July 6, 2014 at 2:42 pm - Reply

          my views always stem from knowing how the establishment works and it’s very difficult for me to write things that I’ve no experiences of so always write from experience in this way all that follow me know before i post on what i will write

          sure it’s odd but that’s me. if we had those who follow this blog from a legal prospective who could add their professional comments from time to time that would go along way with getting things like welfare reform corrected but we don’t

          So we the public get given news from a judge indicating all is not well on welfare reform and to pay out money to those concerned but the recipient for that news IDS just sticks it in the bin

          IDS and HMRC are the two most powerful people in the uk IDS has the power to stop your benefit leading in some cases to your death as we have all seen the past few years and HMRC have the power to bankrupt you at any point they deem fit unless your from a very powerful organization that employs thousands of people

          so whatever view point a member of the public thinks IDS has the upper hand at all times and bringing that person down whoever that may be carries certain risks of getting sacked or death

          i think we had suspicious death with Kelly when at war with iraq and am sure you get my drift mike

          fighting IDS is risky be you a judge or press or whoever you are as he is surrounded not only by armed police but by a whole load of other powerful people from within the establishment

  17. […] High Court throws out Duncan Smith’s “flawed and tawdry” retrospective workfare law […]

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