Autoclenz – employment status court case

This recent case has moved the goalposts slightly in respect of employment status/IR35 scenarios.

The contracts in question contained the usual substitution and mutuality of obligations clauses which often point away from employment/IR35.  However, the Supreme Court decided that the reality of the situation over-rode these contracts.  The reality was that the workers had to do the work personally and could not send substitutes.

The court also said that the expectations of the parties need to be taken into account; no-one expected a substitute to be used.  Also that the bargaining power of the parties should be considered; i.e. was the contract a “take it or leave it” contract?

No doubt, the Taxman will be trying to turn this case to his advantage in the near future so beware out there!


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