A judge has informed the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) that part of the agreement signed by out-of-work benefit claimants does not comply with the law, following a legal challenge from a disabled job seeker.

Christina McKelvie, MSP for Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse, says: "The comments by Judge Christopher Ward in the upper tribunal have the potential to impact upon tens of thousands of both disabled and non-disabled Scots.

"The applicant, Christ Hart's, rights were ruled to have been breached because he was told that he did not have the right to have the contractual document examined before he signed it.

"That sounds to me like a gross abuse of human rights and natural justice. Given that the Jobseeker's Agreement sets out what someone has agreed to do to find work, the notion that an applicant couldn't actually have help to understand the document before signing it seems utterly ludicrous."

Mr Hart, who is easily confused and often misunderstands information he is given because of his learning difficulties as a result of Asperger's syndrome, mean he is classed as a vulnerable adult.

As a result, he says: "I have been arrested, had support withdrawn, had a loss of employment and had repeated benefit sanctions, so entering into an agreement with the DWP that uses my social behaviour as a term of a contract that I've not been informed of, most definitely upsets me and puts me at risk."

Says Ms McKelvie: "This is a crucial finding by the judges because it lays open the inadequacies of the DWP criteria. It could also mean that every single JSA agreement is invalid and unlawful.

"This Westminster Government is very insistent in telling us that it wants to get as many people as possible into work, but how can this be the case when it pulls away the very support that people like Mr Hart rely upon in order to be able tow work?

"Only once we have full control of the welfare and benefit budget in Scotland can we set about creating a fairer, more egalitarian and compassionate system that won't discriminate against those with specific health and disability issues.

"Jobcentre Plus told Mr hart that he had no right to have his needs considered before he signed the contract and that he was being 'unreasonable.' They turned down his claim for JSA."

But even that wasn't the end of it. Mr Hart was also refused hardship payments by DWP and was forced to accept a crisis loan instead. Those decisions put him at risk of eviction and into food poverty.

He has finally been placed in the ESA support group but the 11 months spent without Housing Benefit, JSA or ESA have left Mr Hart in considerable debt.

The DWP is appealing against the judgement.