Introducing the Status Arbitration Service
The Law Place Limited is pleased to announce the Status Arbitration Service ("SAS") to provide a cost-effective, competent and rapid IR35 status determination solution for clients and contractors.
The Finance Act 2020 introduced the "client-led status disagreement process", which is wholly unsatisfactory and offends against natural justice by making the client act as judge, jury and executioner in attempting to decide the IR35 status of an engagement.
It has quickly become apparent that clients lack the expertise to assess IR35 status properly. When challenged, clients often rely on incorrect interpretations of the law, causing liability for breach of the Agency Worker Regulations 2010. Worse still, the same arguments used by a client to enforce a blanket decision on contractors can be used in the employment tribunal to claim worker's rights.
No matter how competent and experienced a client's in-house legal department may be, it is impossible to remove the perception of bias and conflict of interest.
The result is that many contractors have been forced to use umbrella companies against their wishes and clients have experienced difficulties in procuring specialist services.
How does the SAS work?
-The parties agree to refer a status dispute to the SAS for binding arbitration.
-The parties jointly instruct The Law Place Limited to arbitrate having agreed on a competitive fee.
-The outcome is a fully reasoned legal opinion providing a clear conclusion on the status of the engagement having considered the contractual terms and evidence concerning the working practices. It is negligent to disregard the contract terms irrespective of claims by others.
The process is rapid and straightforward, taking 1-3 days.
Advantages of the SAS
-There's no risk of a conflict of interest.
-Based on our 16 years of experience in IR35 and employment status.
-The Law Place Limited's director was trained in Commercial Arbitration at the University of Westminster.
-We do not recommend any insurers or promote insurance policies, so our advice is pure and carries no risk regarding the Managed Service Companies legislation.
-Prevents reputational harm for clients by promoting accuracy, clarity and fairness.
-The Law Place Limited is insured to provide legal advice on IR35.
-Don't be afraid of rocking the boat - Who Dares Wins.
Or you could rely on CEST or a contractor lacking legal qualifications and dedicated IR35 experience to help with "compliance". Remember, CEST is like a genie in the lamp giving any result you wish depending on the answers given, so its use does not satisfy the requirement to "reasonable care" in assessing status. Reasonable care means the behaviour of a "prudent and reasonable taxpayer in the position of the taxpayer in question" (per Judge Berner in HMRC v David Collis). It does not mean filling in a questionnaire and hoping for the best.
We acknowledge that Status Arbitration Service is a genius name and is the copyright of The Law Place Limited, all rights reserved.