Dr George Mantides to appeal his IR35 case, with a barrister

Dr George Mantides is to again put his IR35 status in the hands of a court, but this time not on his own.

The Independent Health Professionals Association confirmed to ContractorUK yesterday that it is helping Dr Mantides with a campaign to pay for a barrister to appeal his IR35 defeat.

Handed down by a First-Tier Tribunal, that defeat saw the urologist lose his claim to be outside IR35 at Royal Berkshire Hospital, even though RBH staff failed to attend the hearing.

While the locum won his second claim – that he was outside IR35 at Medway Maritime Hospital, the dual-claim case was equally remarkable as Dr Mantides represented himself.

'Vast experience'

“I am now appealing the lost case to the Upper Tribunal and HMRC have done likewise,” says the locum, citing his RBH contracts which ran between March and August of 2013.

“[But] having represented myself at FTT, we [the IHPA and me] feel that it is time to instruct a barrister…and [we] have instructed Michael Paulin, who has vast experience at this.”

The IHPA agrees, pointing out that the barrister helped force the U-turn which NHS regulator, NHSI, had to take following its attempts to issue ‘blanket’ determinations on PSCs’ IR35 status.

'Stakes are now much higher'

Paulin's high-level experience partly explains the campaign target -- £20,000, half of which has been raised already according to the funding page. But the 'stretch target' is £60,000.

“It is vitally important to secure proper representation for Dr Mantides,” says IHPA’s general-secretary Dr Iain Campbell, who has always had reservations about the FTT’s stance on RBH.  

“Although [Dr Mantides] did a commendable job of representing himself at FTT the stakes are now much higher, [as] there is the possibility that useful binding precedent may be set.”

'Aberrant'

In July, a month after the judgment against Dr Mantides was published, Dr Campbell took issue with some of the reasoning expressed by the FTT for its ‘caught’ decision.

And those issues now look set to play out in court. “The notional contract used at the FTT appeared markedly aberrant to those of us with experience in the locum market.

“[In that market,] guarantees of minimum hours and continuing work are more or less unheard of, and 1 to 4-hour notice periods are the norm,” Dr Campbell said yesterday, adding:

“While we understand and are sympathetic to the difficulty faced by the [FTT] judge in reaching decisions without client testimony, we do believe there are errors in law -- and in fact, which are likely to result in a different outcome on appeal.”

'Binding precedent'

Now, those perceived errors could not only be corrected, they could also be reversed with possible implications for future IR35 cases – inside and outside the healthcare sector.

“Binding precedent will not only refer to healthcare, but other industries too,” Dr Mantides says on his crowdfunding page.

However inside of healthcare, a win for the urologist at the UTT is likely to have more direct, obvious and frequent application. And his appeal team believes, positives for NHS users too.

The director of George Mantides Limited said: “HMRC has sought to class us as employees purely for tax purposes and charge us both employer and employee taxes, whilst also refusing to let us offset our legitimate travel and accommodation expenses. 

“This has had the effect of dramatically reducing the number of healthcare professionals providing their services, especially to the more remote places -- to the tune of 11,000 doctors according to data. This reduction in healthcare professionals cannot be good for patients.”

'All or nothing'

A contributor to Dr Mantides’ fund, totalling (at the time of writing) £10,200, said last night: “This must hit at least £20k – because crowd justice is all or nothing for the initial target. You then get everything until the stretch [target of £60k].

“If it doesn't hit that goal, then Dr Mantides will be stuck representing himself again. [The issue here is that] this case is much bigger than just him, with the potential to set binding precedent which could benefit tens of thousands of other limited company consultants.”

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Written by Simon Moore

Simon writes impartial news and engaging features for the contractor industry, covering, IR35, the loan charge and general tax and legislation.
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