Government Loses Jobseeker Appeal in Britain’s Highest Court

A U.K. government program that forced unemployed people to work for free was found to be illegal by the country’s Supreme Court.

Guidelines for giving jobs to the short-term and long-term unemployed subsidized by state payments didn’t “contain a sufficiently detailed” description of how the programs operated, the court said in an e-mailed statement today.

“The courts have no more important function than to ensure that the executive complies with the requirements of Parliament as expressed in a statute,” Judge David Neuberger said in the written ruling today.

The government, which appealed a lower court’s ruling, had also failed to give participants enough information about the work they were required to do, the court said in London. The U.K. unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent from 7.8 percent this year, according to the Office for National Statistics.

One of the cases covered by today’s ruling was filed by former museum curator Caitlin Reilly, who was made to stack shelves in a Poundland store for two weeks.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at

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