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.
  • Advice and advocacy in benefit overpayment matters.
  • Advice and expert witness reports on social security issues in matrimonial matters.
  • Advice and advocacy about overpayments in in probate 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.
  • Consultancy and casework on benfits issues for Deputies.

Personal injuries cases and work for Deputies

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.  My work will also help Deputies who have an obligation to maximise benefit incomes for clients.

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 prepared expert witness reports in major personal injury matters in the UK and the USA.

Expert witness reports in benefit fraud prosecutions

I no longer undertake work as an expert witness in benefit fraud prosecutions. 

Between 2006 and 2018, I had regular instructions to be an expert witness in benefit fraud prosecutions and was instructed regularly by several firms which specialise in criminal law. I completed reports in more than 190 prosecutions.  My investigations examined the accuracy and recoverability of the alleged benefit overpayments,notional and actual entitlement during the time of the alleged offences which can be relevant for both sentence and sometiems whether or not an offence has even been committed.

In over 90% of the cases I examined, I identified that the Crown’s assertion of the amount of the alleged overpayment was incorrect, (sometimes by a factor of 20). In some cases my reports helped secure acquittals and in almost all others helped achieve much reduced sentences and a reduction in what was owed by defendants.

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

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?  One cannot rely on judges, defence or prosecution lawyers to get it right; they rarely understand the law on social security entitlement.

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