As specialists in the area of industrial disease, Hattons is leading the way with challenges against unfair charges and delays experienced when dealing with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to obtain client’s Inland Revenue Employment Histories.
“At the moment we are experiencing delays of up to six months in obtaining an employment history for a client from HMRC,” says Jenna Gielty, the Hattons solicitor who specialises in acting for industrial disease claimants. “This delay has a knock-on effect on the whole case because clients only have three years to bring a claim in any event, and so it reduces that time significantly. As well as delays in obtaining information, if a client has passed away HMRC are making the bereaved family make an application to the High Court to obtain a Court Order for release of the Inland Revenue employment history. The application cost for this is £155.00 and HMRC believe that their costs should be paid in addition to this, along with the legal costs for a solicitor to represent the bereaved family in such an application.”
With these stringent rules and costs in place every industrial disease client that Hattons currently represents – from asbestos-related diseases and white finger to noise-induced hearing loss and others – is being affected, with every case taking significant time to process.
“We simply do not feel that it is legally right that bereaved families are being requested to make applications to the High Court,” adds Jenna. “It is costing the families money to do so and also causing increased stress and anxiety during a time that is already extremely hard for them. Furthermore, when we have a formal authority from a Personal Representative for access to this information we just do not feel that a Court Order is necessary.”
Everyone at Hattons feels so strong about this unfair issue that they are taking the matter up with Marie Rimmer, Member of Parliament for St Helens South and Whiston, in the hope that she will be able to provide some help for families currently having to make High Court applications.
“Hopefully by taking these matters – both the delays being faced in obtaining information and the process bereaved families are having to go through – to our MP we will be able to make some progress,” says Jenna. “Quite simply, the current situation is just not fair and we want to do all we can to make things better for the large number of industrial disease clients we have and ensure they get what they deserve as quickly and efficiently as possible.”