IT contractor in legal battle to quash IR35 reforms

A limited company IT contractor is taking the unprecedented step of seeking donations to help fund a £360,000 legal challenge against IR35 reforms in the public sector.

Mike Gibson, boss of his own PSC Ethical Consulting Ltd, is pursuing both the grounds and the resources -- “specifically, financial ones” -- to overturn April’s new IR35 legislation.

An ex-transformation director of the firms Logica and Fujitsu, Gibson says the new IR35 bringing “iniquity” to “many” indicates that there are “strong grounds” to fight the off-payroll rules.

Hinting that human rights laws may be used, he spoke of two PSCs being “on the verge of losing their homes because of the slowdown in the public sector caused by IR35 [changing].” 

The bid to crowdfund a court battle against the April framework follows a victory for locums who threatened the NHS with a judicial review over its ban on PSCs, due to the changes.

The locums’ case, which led to the NHS rescinding the ban, was managed by Michael Paulin, a barrister, on behalf of the Locum Doctors Union and the Healthcare Professionals Union.

“There are a huge number of lines of complaint that we could pursue and I would hope that we would use the extensive knowledge and intelligence that Michael Paulin and his team have already amassed”, Gibson said.

Supported by Andrew Merritt-Morling, an entrepreneur, he added: “It cannot be fair that public sector organisations are being compelled to pay more for exactly the same service as private sector organisations.”

But the pair do not want donations yet. They first want potential supporters to email to say if they can “commit to a regular monthly contribution.” Twenty pounds is given as an example.

“If we receive enough pledges of financial support, we will create a site where there will be absolute clarity about how the money is spent”, Gibson said. “I want to be clear -- this is not an investment -- except in overturning an injustice."

Jun 12, 2017