News and Press

HM Courts and Tribunals Service Causes Distress by Mailing the Deceased

The HM Courts and Tribunals Service has caused distress to a grieving mum in Derbyshire after sending a letter to her deceased son addressed to Mr A Deceased.

The son was contesting a decision to cut his disability benefits but died before the appeal was heard.


He passed away on May 1 after suffering from respiratory failure and pneumonia. During the appeal process the letter was sent and the term "extinct benefits” was used in reference to the deceased’s allowances.

The man’s mother has been left very distressed by the letter and is appalled by the "insensitivity" of HM Courts and Tribunals Service. She was quoted as saying "It was extremely upsetting to receive a letter that only referred to my son as a national insurance number and tribunal reference. Losing your son is something no mother wants to experience.The least you expect is for the powers-that-be to display some common decency."

Chief executive of HM Courts and Tribunals Service, Susan Acland-Hood, said: "We are urgently investigating what has happened here. I regret the upset that this has caused and would like to apologise and express my deepest sympathy to the family.”

One simple way for organisations to ensure blunders such as these do not occur is to subscribe to a deceased suppression service which helps identify the records of people contained in databases that have subsequently passed away. These people are then flagged and a decision can be made whether to continue with the communication.

Mortascreen is used by thousands of organisations to protect against this very issue and the brand damage caused by accidentally mailing the deceased.

For further information on how to protect yourself against sending communications to people that have passed away please contact Patrick Lymath on Patrick.lymath@wilmingtonmillennium.co.uk


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