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Tribunal warnings.

 

Mike Hughes
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Senior Welfare Rights Officer (Take-Up), Salford WRS.

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I’m thinking especially of DLA, PIP and AA here but I don’t suppose anyone has any stats/clues. on the number of warnings which

- could be linked to subsequent withdrawals of appeals.
- actually did result in a lower award or removal of the existing award?

Obviously, I am not optimistic but you never know when someone out there has quietly done or come across a specific piece of work undertaken. 

     
AdviceShop
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Hi Mike

We have had a couple of cases I can think of where warnings were given and awards subsequently removed after the hearing. I’ve recently taken one to UT who set-aside the FtT decision.

I’ve been at a few hearings where the “warning” has been given,  but usually after a bit of discussion they leave it in place.

It would be interesting to see how many cases are affected by this.

Peter

     
Mike Hughes
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My suspicion is that this is widely misunderstood and misused by tribunals and possibly advisers. Most clients will withdraw immediately and many advisers will also believe this is not up for debate. However, I have had cases and have heard from other colleagues in the GM area, where the warning was based on the papers and without foundation. Indeed I have proceeded in a couple and won exactly what we were asking for. In both instances the issue seemed to be a complete faith in a DWP submission which was errant nonsense and a baffling lack of knowledge of the relevant law. 

 

     
past caring
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Didn’t respond initially Mike, given your request for evidence/stats, rather than anecdote, though my experience ties in with yours, particularly in regard to a lack of knowledge of the relevant law.

The starkest recent example was a DLA appeal that arose from a refusal to supersede decision (i.e. that was the decision under appeal). The tribunal clearly started from a position of being miffed at my having already had the temerity to successfully apply for leave to the UT against the previous tribunal’s decision (“We will make sure that you get opportunity to ask questions about all the relevant matters Mr H, because we would not want to be in a position where it were possible to say that the tribunal had not sought evidence to support its findings of fact” - i.e. the primary basis for the overturning of the previous tribunal’s decision).

Anyway, the tribunal then went on to give its warning and told me to go and discuss with the client. I asked for the basis for the warning, given a) the existing award was not in dispute so far as the SoS was concerned and b) the appellant’s right to be made aware of why the tribunal considered there to be a question over that entitlement and to adduce any necessary evidence to address that issue. Refused - told simply, “It’s just the whole of the award.”

We proceeded. The thing had by now dragged on for so long since the original refusal to supersede that the client had already received his PIP conversion/invitation to claim correspondence, so very little at risk anyway.

Tribunal duly went on to remove entitlement - but did so from one year after the date of the decision under appeal, on the basis of a purported change of circumstances. :)

     
Mike Hughes
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Senior Welfare Rights Officer (Take-Up), Salford WRS.

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Has to be some way of documenting this stuff.