New disclosure procedure in mesothelioma cases

Posted by Malcolm Johnson on

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In the case of Yates v Commissioners for HMRC and APIL [2014] EWHC 2311 (QB) Master McCloud in the High Court has just set out a procedure for the disclosure of HMRC employment schedules in respect of deceased persons outside the scope of issued court proceedings.

HMRC's position was that, absent a change in the law, it would be necessary for there to be actual pending court proceedings for the court to gain jurisdiction to order disclosure of HMRC employment histories.

Master McCloud said that since the commencement of this application an amendment was proposed for inclusion in the Deregulation Bill. On 14 May 2004 it was proposed that an amendment be included in the Deregulation Bill to allow HMRC to disclose National Insurance Contributions Schedules to persons entitled to make claims under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 and to persons entitled to bring proceedings for personal injury for the benefit of a deceased's person's estate or to persons claiming to be eligible under section 3 of the Mesothelioma Act 2014 for a payment under the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme. However the legislation was yet to take effect.

For that reason the parties had asked the Master to provide a procedure for dealing with requests for HMRC employment histories in the interim. This was set out in the annex to the judgment. Thereafter in accordance with usual practice in the asbestos diseases court an application could be made by email via the specialist Masters or their staff and served on HMRC with the proposed draft order (a form for which is provided in this judgment) and a schedule of information to assist HMRC to trace the records.

It was anticipated that provided the proper criteria for disclosure were met, the HMRC would not oppose disclosure and an order would be made.

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Malcolm is an Senior Associate in our London office, with nearly twenty years' experience.

Malcolm Johnson
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