A Bill which aims to allow would-be heroes and volunteers to act without fear of being sued is ill thought-through, populist, and a waste of parliamentary time, MPs have heard.
The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) gave evidence to a committee on Thursday on the effects of the Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism Bill which is currently working its way through Parliament.
APIL president John Spencer explained that the Bill is unnecessary, as Good Samaritans have nothing to fear from the current law.
“There is a need for education here. We should not be legislating to deal with a perception,” said Mr Spencer.
“The Bill aims to deal with a problem which doesn’t exist and in turn could have unintended consequences,” he went on. “By trying to adjust a problem which is merely a perception, the Government could create another problem”.
APIL, a national not-for-profit group which campaigns for safety and on behalf of injured people, fears that would-be heroes will be able to disregard whether their actions result in help or harm because they will be protected by the new law.
“There is adanger that it could encourage unsafe, even reckless, behaviour whilst seeking to encourage heroic behaviour,” Mr Spencer explained.
“The aims and objectives that the Government sets out to encourage people to act for the good of society without fear of reprisal are indeed laudable, but I challenge the method.
“None of us would want to send our child off on a school trip and have them injured, and likewise we don’t want them to be prevented from going on the trip because of a fear of litigation. But the fear is based on perception and we need education,not legislation, to address that”.