The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published annual statistics for health and safety at work in Great Britain for the year April 2016 to March 2017. These show that an estimated 31.2 million days were lost through work-related ill health (25.7 million days) and non-fatal workplace injury (5.5 million days).
The phrase ‘lost in translation’ was certainly apposite to a High Court case in which a commercial dispute hinged on the disputed meaning of a foreign statute, which was written in two foreign languages and had been translated into English six times, each version throwing up slight, but potentially critical, differences.
Diplomats are immune from the jurisdiction of the courts of host countries – but there are limits to that principle. The Supreme Court identified one such in an important decision concerning a domestic servant who claimed to have been trafficked and mistreated by a diplomat and his wife.
If a negligent worker causes injury in the course of his job, compensation is generally payable by his or her employer under the principle of vicarious liability. However, as one case concerning an office prank showed, that does not apply where the worker concerned is on a frolic of his own.
Fire safety regulations are there to be obeyed and those who fail to do so will be hit hard in the pocket. In one case, a sweets manufacturer was fined £60,000 after a five-storey building that it occupied was condemned as a potential death trap.
Trade unions have a statutory right to call their members out on strike so long as the correct procedures are followed. However, as one case concerning proposed industrial action by more than 100,000 Royal Mail workers showed, that right can be cut down by agreement.
Following the decision of the Supreme Court that the introduction of Employment Tribunal fees in July 2013 was unlawful (R on the application of UNISON v Lord Chancellor  UKSC 51), the Ministry of Justice announced that the Government would cease charging fees immediately and take steps to refund payments made since their introduction – no easy task.
Litigation is often an exercise in brinkmanship and the need to make knife-edge decisions under pressure is one very good reason why advice from experienced professionals frequently makes the difference between victory and defeat.
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