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These are – you do not need me to say – difficult times for all of us, businesses included. However, our moral obligation to behave decently and our legal obligation to comply with the law remain.
On Tuesday morning Good Law Project became aware of Wetherspoon’s plans to stop paying more than 40,000 furloughed workers until it received cash from the taxpayer-funded Job Retention Scheme – this despite the fact that the purpose of the scheme was stated by Government as being to enable employers “to continue paying part of their employees’ salary.”
By Tuesday lunchtime, we had secured the assistance of one of the country’s leading employment law QCs, Sean Jones, and leading firms of solicitors, Leigh Day. And we had offers of help from many more. On Wednesday evening, facing a huge political backlash – and the threat of immediate legal action – Wetherspoon abandoned its plan. The immediate futures of 40,000 workers – and the families many of them support – was hugely improved.
The legal profession wants to help those in need and Good Law Project has an important role to play in identifying injustices that the law can remedy – and putting together teams to take those cases forward. We know – because they have told us – that leading firms of solicitors and leading barristers want to work on these cases and are prepared to do so at diminished rates or for free.
Until this crisis is over, that is what we mean to do, whilst our own finances permit it.
We are aware that there is huge demand for action. And we want your help in identifying the right cases to take forward. So let us tell you both (1) what types of cases we want to take – and (2) what we will need to take them forward.
The types of cases we want to take
We plan to focus in the short term on groups affected by the novel coronavirus. We want to take cases affecting large numbers of people. We want to take cases for those who are most vulnerable. We want to take cases where the wrongdoer could choose to act better.
What you need to send us
We can’t act on rumour or generalisation. We need contracts; we need emails; we need the names of individuals affected. The more detail you can give us, the more documents you can send us, the better. We are happy for you to write to us in confidence and if we are interested in taking your case forward we will discuss with you how best to do that. You can write to us at info[@]goodlawproject.org
We regret that we can’t commit to responding to all messages that we receive but the more detail you are able to send us the more likely we are to be able to act.
Helping us help those most in need
We know these are difficult times financially. But if you are able to support, or further support, our work financially, you can do so here: https://goodlawproject.org/membership/