Carpenter Roy Bentham vows to continue ‘fight for justice’

Blacklist Support Group Roy Bentham

Protests outside the High Court today

A blacklisted construction worker today told the High Court the £25m-plus of settlements paid by contractors to end the three-year case before a full hearing was “a failure of the British justice system”.

Roy Bentham, a 48-year-old carpenter from Liverpool, told a High Court hearing today that formally ended the case: “This will be judged in time because this hasn’t been justice today.

“I look at the episode in this courtroom as a failure of the British justice system. A bit of compensation here and there is not justice.”

Bentham had wanted to progress the case to a full hearing on his own, but the judge rejected his application and a subsequent request for the right to appeal, saying there were “no grounds” on which an appeal would succeed.

In recent weeks eight contractors known as the Macfarlanes Defendants - Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and Vinci - have settled out of court with over 700 claimants, with pay-outs thought to total more than £25m. 

Today in court an agreed statement between the Macfarlanes Defendants and claimants was read out stating the contractors offer their “sincere and unreserved apologies to the claimants for any damage caused” and admitted in detail how blacklisting operated for four decades before being shut down in 2009.

Bentham and some other members of victims’ group the Blacklist Support Group attended court today to protest both outside and inside the courtroom, at one stage disrupting proceedings with chants of “no justice, no peace”.

After the hearing finished, Bentham – who has also campaigned for justice from the Hillsborough inquest – told Building he will now take legal advice before potentially taking the case to the Supreme Court. He added: “I’m a Hillsborough survivor and the fight goes on.”

Commenting on Bentham’s statement, a spokesperson for the Macfarlanes Defendants said: “The settlement covered all of the claimants. As the judge said today, if there is a disagreement it is a matter between Roy Bentham and his solicitors.”

The spokesperson added: “It’s a closed chapter. The industry has learned and changed as a result of this case. The Macfarlanes Defendants have put in place policies and training programmes to ensure this can never happen again.

“We are pleased to have reached an agreement so settlements can be paid without a lengthy court process, saving on cost for all parties.”