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Government to Introduce 'Good Samaritans' Law

The UK Government has announced plans to change the law in England and Wales to help ‘everyday heroes’ volunteer or go to the rescue of people in danger without the fear of being sued.

The changes will mean that judges will be required to give weight to three additional factors when deciding negligence cases:

  • If the person was doing something for "the benefit of society" – to give weight to the fact people were doing a good deed like volunteering, running an event or trip, or helping out by clearing snow.
  • If they had been acting in a "generally responsible way" - to make sure the court will give consideration to the fact people may have taken care when organising an activity but an accident has happened.
  • If they were "acting in emergency" - if they stepped in to help someone in danger but something went wrong.

The changes will make sure that good Samaritans and community heroes will have the law on their side, the Government said.

The Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) has said that it broadly welcomes the changes.

“We fully support volunteering and broadly welcome the ‘good Samaritans’ law, if it helps encourage positive volunteering and more public spirit,” said IOSH head of policy and public affairs Richard Jones

“Of course, Government will need arrangements in place to look after anyone seriously harmed in the situations they describe – where people do their best, but things still go wrong,” he added.

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