The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) has spoken out against recent proposals by Companies House to delete millions of details of dissolved companies that could deny victims of injury in the workplace access to critical information.
Recent reports suggest that Companies House is considering plans to delete details after six years as opposed to twenty.
Injury lawyers stress efforts by thousands of seriously ill workers and bereaved families to seek redress against negligent employers will be gravely hampered if the new plans take force.
Neil Sugarman, president of APIL warns 'Sick and injured workers need Companies House records to identify their former employers and the relevant insurers so that they can pursue them for the full compensation they need and deserve.'
He adds 'Victims of asbestos-related disease mesothelioma, for example, are dying because of exposure at work as far back as the 1980s. Some of those companies who exposed their employees to asbestos are now likely dissolved and the records would be deleted under the plans.'
Proposals are yet to be confirmed, however the 2015/2016 Companies House annual report infers change, saying it will be looking at how details of dissolved UK companies are managed over the coming year.
APIL has already began petitioning Companies House stressing the need to keep details of former employers and the relevant insurers in negligence cases, as without these the thousands of workers and their families who pursue cases each year may never see justice served.
Neil Sugarman states 'There is no possible reason or motivation for deleting company records which should supersede the need to access information on behalf of vulnerable and ill individuals.'
This issue raises ethical and moral questions regarding individuals right to justice with many saying insurers will be laughing all the way to the bank. The deleting of records also raises questions over the government's commitment to corporate transparency and is likely to be opposed by lawyers, bank compliance teams and journalists.
Companies House, which freed access to data last year, has defended itself over increasing concerns about availability of personal data after receiving over 2,000 complaints from customers about the availability of online data.
This proposition is of course very interesting from a legal standpoint as, if successful, the deletion of millions of records of dissolved companies could seriously alter the legal landscape for personal injury claims in the workplace.
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