PI lawyers join fight to stop Companies House deleting records six years after dissolution

Sugarman: records needed

Sugarman: records needed

The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) have joined the campaign to stop Companies House from deleting the details of defunct businesses after six years rather than the current 20.

It said the move would “severely hamper” the efforts of ill workers and bereaved families to seek redress against negligent employers.

This week Labour deputy leader Tom Watson led calls for Prime Minister Theresa May to halt the change, saying it would damage the fight against corruption.

Companies House is considering the move in the light of complaints that retaining, and making publicly available, information relating to long-dissolved companies is inconsistent with data protection law.

APIL president Neil Sugarman said: “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.

“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.

“Without a record of the original company entity, workers and their families may never see justice be served… 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.”

The Guardian quoted Mr Watson saying: “This proposal from Companies House would only serve to protect criminals who seek to hide their past corporate misdeeds from public view. It would harm the global fight against corruption and tax avoidance. It would also be an attack on the right of the public, the police and journalists to scrutinise corporate wrongdoing.

“Perhaps more importantly, it would prohibit legitimate companies carrying out due diligence on people they are considering doing business with.”

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