Attorneys’ withdrawal from the appendices of recovery operations

Attorneys' withdrawal from the appendices of recovery operations

Attorneys for victims of the benefits scandal have discontinued regular consultations with the organization responsible for financial compensation, the Executive Allowances Recovery Organization (UHT). Attorneys are frustrated by the lack of solutions to the “major bottlenecks” in the recovery process. This was confirmed by a spokesperson for the Dutch Bar Association (NOvA) after questions from Norwegian Refugee Council.

NOvA, the professional organization for the legal profession, has consulted with UHT on a regular basis over the past year and a half about the reform process, about once every three weeks. The Legal Aid Board and a working group of participating lawyers also joined the meeting. But conversations now are only taking place “on a private basis” between individual attorneys and the UHT, the spokesperson says, and “are no longer with NOvA.”

Twelve lawyers also recently stopped helping aggrieved parents, NOvA and the Legal Aid Council confirm. As a result, dozens of parents have to look for new legal help. nova He said last February news hour To be afraid, because the difficult recovery process will discourage you from many lawyers – although there may also be lawyers who discontinue their assistance for other reasons.

The recovery process by which the government wants to compensate tens of thousands of affected parents is slow and messy. According to the latest figures, more than four thousand parents have filed an objection to decisions of the UHT executive body. In the fourth quarter of 2022, UHT only processed 74 interceptions.

treatment for at least another twelve years

At the current rate, it would take at least another twelve years to deal with the current pile of objections, while the number of objections filed was still rising rapidly. Prime Minister Ruth books Last Friday that the Cabinet was making an effort to come up with an improved approach “in the short term”.

Last September, the Bar Association warned Minister of State Oke de Vries (Supplements, VVD) that the UHT’s position “threatens to create a new relationship”.

An important problem, according to the lawyers, is the “legalization” of the process, which until recently consisted of a “hodgepodge of arrangements” resulting in a “spaghetti of decisions”. There are no clear rules for determining the amount of harm and parents must provide evidence that makes it plausible that they have suffered harm.

“From day one, we identified what could happen,” says Bernard de List, who was a member of the Bar’s Lawyers’ Action Group, consulted with the ministry and the UHT. According to De Lyst, who is representing 25 victims, for nearly two years lawyers have been asked to submit proposals to arrange damages repair, but the government has done nothing about it. “They completely let things fizzle out.”

Attorney Susan Arakelian, who represents more than two hundred victims: “In my experience, lawyers are never heard, and the United Personal Rights Union is just getting its way. This has also polarized. At first I still had the idea that we would ensure recovery together,” And now we are totally against.”

One of the main points of contention is the quality of the Recovery File. This is the file on which the UHT bases its decision on the amount of compensation for the parents. According to lawyers, essential documents are often missing, as a result of which they feel compelled to constantly contest decisions.

According to the bar association, last July UHT committed to organizing a meeting to discuss improving recovery files. “This meeting never took place, despite repeated requests from the lawyers.”

It is noteworthy that Foreign Minister de Vries stated in a letter to the House of Representatives last Monday books To examine “in consultation with NOvA” how the use of independent experts can enhance the position of parents in the claims process. “This passage may give the impression that we jointly intend to create a group of experts. This impression is incorrect,” says a NOvA spokesperson. NOvA and the Legal Aid Board were not consulted in advance about the Secretary of State’s intent.

Also read this piece: Twice as many people live in poverty due to government error

In its response, the Ministry of Finance confirmed that the periodic consultations with the Bar Association were “temporarily suspended.” NOvA and the UHT are said to have been in touch about the current bottlenecks at the beginning of March, and the lawyers spoke to the top of the ministry last Wednesday.

The fact that the meeting on improvement points, which was pledged in July, did not take place, according to a spokesperson, is because UHT “focused strongly on accelerating and improving operations” last fall. According to the UHT, the advice given by the lawyers has already been “closely considered”.

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