ARC drops plan for judicial review of Agency Workers Regulations

The Association of Recruitment Consultancies (ARC) has had to scrap plans to pursue a judicial review of certain parts of the Agency Workers Regulations (AWR).

The ARC had called for a legal review of the AWR, after warning that two provisions included by the UK government would mean that any organisation involved in the supply-chain relating to agency worker recruitment could be liable for action in the event of a dispute.

Although ARC insisted that the argument for a judicial review was strong, it was deemed impractical to assemble the case by yesterday’s deadline.

Adrian Marlowe, chair of ARC, said: “Sadly time has defeated us. A judicial review would have kept the issue open and obliged an incoming government to consider the regulations. Strategically the timing has always been key because it expired before the election.

“After nearly two years of discussion and two consultations it is fair to say that the option of further talks had currently reached the end of the line. The regulations are now law and the only guarantee that the matter would be kept alive is if there had been a judicial review.”

The call for a legal review was not supported by the two largest industry bodies – the Recruitment and Employment Confederation and the Association of Professional Staffing Companies – but Marlowe called on them to work together on addressing concerns.

“The recruitment world needs to work together to find the best way of helping employers from the worst excesses of the directive. I believe this is a prize worth fighting for,” he said.

“We will continue to build on the evidence to demonstrate the inappropriateness and disproportionate effect of these regulations, and take the case forwards on this and other issues. There is still much to play for.”

The Conservatives have indicated that they would review the AWR if they come to power after the general election, although legal experts have warned that the Tories will not be able to make large scale changes.

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