New protection for have-a-go heroes revealed

Have-a-go heroes and Good Samaritans are to be given new legal protections if they are sued for neglect or breach of duty after they intervene in an emergency.

A new Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism Bill, unveiled in the Queen's Speech and applicable to England and Wales, will aim to give "peace of mind" to volunteers after research showed that many people are put off by the fear that they may risk legal liabilities.

The Queen unveiled the measures during her speech to the State Opening of Parliament.
The Queen unveiled the measures during her speech to the State Opening of Parliament. Credit: Pool

New provisions will require courts adjudicating claims to consider whether the defendant was acting "for the benefit of society or any of its members" and had demonstrated a generally responsible approach towards protecting safety when the alleged incident took place.

The courts will have to take account of evidence that the individual "took heroic action by intervening in an emergency to assist an individual in danger and without regard to his own safety or other interests".

Read: Pension reforms announced in Queen's Speech

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Pension reforms announced in Queen's Speech 2014

Plans for giant "pooled" pension schemes with the potential to boost people's chances of getting a better retirement outcome have been unveiled in the Queen's Speech. The legislation will enable "collective schemes" that spreads risk between members.