Neil Bateman
Services for Solicitors

Books etc

I provide the following services to solicitors:

  • Benefit maximisation and tackling benefit problems for clients with major personal injuries.
  • Expert witness investigations and reports in benefit fraud prosecutions.
  • Advice and advocacy in benefit overpayment matters.
  • Advice and expert witness reports on social security issues in matrimonial matters.
  • Advice and advocacy about benefits for elderly clients or beneficiaries with special needs.
  • Advice on housing benefit problems for tenants and landlords.

Benefit maximisation for clients with major personal injuries

Clients who have had major injuries will need help from a benefits expert to ensure that they claim all the benefits they are entitled to.  A major personal injury has a huge impact on clients and their families; not only will they be coping with the injury and its effects but they may well have had a massive drop in income and find the maze of the social security system very difficult to deal with.  These experiences are made worse by problems with the administration of social security benefits. 

I can provide a bespoke advice and advocacy service for your clients and ensure that they receive the benefits they are entitled to.  It may be possible to include my fees as part of the damages claim alongside other rehabilitiation costs.

I am accredited by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers as an Expert and I am happy to have a no obligation discussion with you about your clients' situation. I have also prepared expert witness reports in major personal injury matters in the UK and the USA.
 

Expert witness reports in benefit fraud prosecutions

Since 2006, I have had regular instructions to be an expert witness in benefit fraud prosecutions and am instructed regularly by several firms which specialise in criminal law. I have completd reports in more than 160 prosecutions.  My investigations examine the accuracy and recoverability of the alleged benefit overpayments,notional and actual underlying entitlement during the time of the alleged offences (including unclaimed benefits which may be offset against the overpayment and/or used in mitigation), which may be relevant for both sentence and whether or not an offence has been committed.

These are in-depth investigations, my reports run to over twenty pages and they are reviewed and edited by my associates (a practising solicitor and a housing benefit expert).

In over 90% of the cases I have examined, I have identified that the Crown’s assertion of the amount of the alleged overpayment has been incorrect, (sometimes by a factor of 20!). In some cases my reports have helped secure acquittals and in almost all others helped achieve non-custodial sentences.

The standard of decision-making about benefit overpayments is often inadequate, leading to exaggerated amounts – a tacitly acknowledged fact among DWP officials and a well known fact among welfare rights experts.

In addition, experience shows that fraud investigators frequently lack good knowledge of benefit entitlement while actual and notional entitlement issues are often overlooked by benefit decision makers. The exception appears to be when the entitlement and overpaid amounts are assessed correctly.

How many people have been wrongly convicted of benefit fraud or have been given excessive sentences because evidence about fraudulently overpaid benefit is not correct?

I am willing to accept instructions from either the Defence or the Crown and can be a single or joint expert.

References from instructing solicitors and counsel are available and I have no previous criminal convictions. I am also a member of the Expert Witness Institute.

I have also prepared an expert witness report in a succesful judicial review of a local authority decision to stop funding a social welfare law advice service.

To contact me, please see my contact details.

I have a practise checklist for use in benefit fraud matters. I used to make it freely available on this website but unfortunately some people (including fraud investigators!) downloaded it without permission and breached my copyright. If you would like a copy, please contact me.

Read my article on this subject in the Law Society’s Gazette.