MPs’ report could help drive rule changes on employment rights and NDAs

A report into the use of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) by a key Commons committee was today welcomed by the Law Society of England and Wales.

In a letter to Maria Miller MP - who chairs the Women and Equalities Committee - the president of the Law Society Christina Blacklaws hailed several recommendations that, if adopted, would strengthen workplace rights and drive greater access to legal advice for employees.

Ms Blacklaws also endorsed proposals to reform the employment tribunal process and to increase the time limits in discrimination cases - areas in which the Law Society has been seeking changes.

The letter continues: “The committee’s recommendations and calls to government for greater clarity around whistleblowing law are also welcomed as this is something that we have said needs attention. We reference the complexities of the law around whistleblowing and the public interest in our guidance note.

“We also welcome the recommendation on the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (ECHR) being granted wider powers to enforce employers’ actions to protect workers from discrimination and harassment in the workplace. This links directly to our recommendations on enforcing employment rights that we made to Matthew Taylor’s independent review into modern work practices.”

Ms Blacklaws went on to stress the crucial role solicitors play in upholding the rule of law, which “depends on legal rights and obligations being validly created and effectively enforced. The Law Society plays an important public interest function”.

Turning to the issue of NDAs she added: “We have sought to lead an open and frank discussion within the legal community about the use of NDAs and confidentiality clauses. This includes supporting solicitors to navigate complex legal, regulatory and ethical boundaries.

“We have noted the committee’s recommendation about the Law Society’s guidance to our members. In accordance with your recommendation, the Law Society is now undertaking a review of the NDA guidance to ensure it is in the public interest.”

The Law Society's specialist employment law committee will analyse the committee’s recommendations in detail.

Notes to editors

Read the letter to Maria Miller MP (PDF 141 KB) 

Read the Women and Equalities Committee report which was published on 11 June.

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