Law to end 'culture of fear' over payouts

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The Independent Online

Lord Falconer of Thoroton announced moves yesterday to protect teachers and volunteers from being sued over an accident beyond their control and to bring "ambulance-chasing" insurance companies under control. The Compensation Bill will require judges to consider the overall public benefit of activities when they consider negligence claims.

Lord Falconer said: "There is a culture of fear of being sued and it is stopping good activities. Local authorities don't open public spaces because they fear they might be sued, people don't do school trips because they fear they might be sued or sign up for voluntary organisations, like the Boy Scouts or Girl Guides. There is somebody saying that you have to wear goggles to play conkers - and that does not encourage conker playing."

He added: "Individuals and organisations that adopt reasonable standards and procedures will not be liable. We are making it clear the court should take into account the wider social value of activities when considering claims."