The new changes to Section 47, in force from 1st October 2013 provide,
“(2) Breach of a duty imposed by a statutory instrument containing (whether alone or with other provision) health and safety regulations shall not be actionable except to the extent that regulations under this section so provide.
(2A) Breach of a duty imposed by an existing statutory provision shall not be actionable except to the extent that regulations under this section so provide (including by modifying any of the existing statutory provisions).
(2B) Regulations under this section may include provision for—
(a) a defence to be available in any action for breach of the duty mentioned in subsection (2) or (2A);
(b) any term of an agreement which purports to exclude or restrict any liability for such a breach to be void.”
At present no specific regulations have been passed under this section setting out general circumstances in which breach of statutory duty will be actionable. This means that whereas previously claims might have been made for breach of statutory duty this will no longer be possible unless any set of regulations specifically so provides.
This is a surprising outcome given that:
(a) this was not what Professor Löftstedt envisaged;and
(b) there is now doubt as to whether the UK has transposed the 6 Pack Directives properly.