Trade and Industry Select Committee to consider allowing ‘class action’ legal cases

The Trade and Industry Committee is to look into how the government can implement the recommendations of the report of the Women and Work Commission, Shaping a Fairer Future.

The commission reported in February, when it called for the appointment of ‘equality representatives’ at all medium and large employers to police levels of pay, but rejected proposals pushed by trade unions and the Equal Opportunities Commission for mandatory pay audits.

One controversial proposal outlined in the report is the introduction of class actions – where a single individual would be able to represent a whole series of people in court for a test case against an employer, as happens in the US. Although the report did not call outright for such litigation to go ahead, it said that the issue should be looked at further.

The report, originally scheduled for publication before Christmas, was delayed by two months because of wrangling among members of the commission, which has been led by Baroness Prosser.

Now a sub-committee of the Trade and Industry Committee will look into the practicalities of implementing the findings, and has called for submissions by 5pm on 22 June. Details of oral evidence hearings will be announced shortly after that date.

You can e-mail your submissions to



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