These are often matters of general employment law, and not specific tax legislation. There is an enormous amount of Case Law in this area and HMRC are not always right. HMRC do not have the final say on whether somebody is self-employed or not. We can argue your case and take it before the Tax Tribunals for you.
The cost if you get it wrong is enormous. Not only is there the question of employees and employers national insurance, being classified as an employee also gives rise to all sorts of employment rights such as holiday pay, maternity pay, unfair dismissal etc. The decision has to be made by the employer and if you get it wrong it is going to be very hard to recover the back tax, interest, penalties etc from the worker.