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Appeal in November - Still no decision

 

Bonnie
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BABL. Bridgend Citizens Advice

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Hi all,

I have a client who attended a tribunal hearing in November and we have still not had a decision. I am routinely contacting HMCT to check if a decision has been made. I have gotten to the point where I feel I need to put something in writing but I don’t know where to start. I can’t find any information on time limits for Judges to make a decision.
Can someone point me in the right direction? Or any direction?!

Thanks in advance

     
past caring
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Welfare Rights Adviser Southwark Law Centre Peckham

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There can be no valid reason why a decision has not been made by now. I can conceive of circumstances where, in a complicated case where judgement was reserved, the judge has come to decide the appeal and has concluded they need further evidence and so has been unable to decide the appeal. But that would require, at a minimum, a directions and adjournment notice and a further opportunity for the parties to comment - and in all probability, another hearing.

There are two options as I see it;

1. a directions request sent for the attention of a District or Regional Tribunal judge that a decision is issued within 14 days.

2. a directions request sent for the attention of a District or Regional Tribunal judge requesting an entirely new hearing. This on the basis that the passage of time makes it unlikely that if the judge has so far been unable to decide the case, he or she is going to be able to make a fair and just decision now.

I’d go for the latter - if only because any entirely proper arguments about delay undermining the integrity of the decision would be just as applicable if the appeal were allowed.

     
Elliot Kent
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Don’t disagree with past caring, although I might take a lighter touch as it doesn’t necessarily go against your client.

What sort of appeal is it? Is it possible that the Judge is awaiting the outcome of a case in the higher courts?

     
past caring
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Elliot - I’d thought of that (the ‘it doesn’t necessarily go against your client’ bit) and that is what my last sentence was trying to address, though poorly written - i.e. the judge might just need a gentle nudge and the decision is that the appeal is allowed. But what I was trying to say is that if the appeal is lost, arguments about the delay vitiating the decision will look a bit hollow if they weren’t made earlier for the reason that at that point it seemed the appellant might still win…...

Could be the higher court decision pending, though, as you suggest - but then you’d have expected the judge to have indicated the decision might be delayed because of that?

     
Bonnie
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BABL. Bridgend Citizens Advice

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It’s a complicated case regarding ESA and capital. No higher court case pending.
I like option 2. I would be arguing the time taken to make a decision if it didn’t go in the clients favour.
Thanks all. Much appreciated.