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Good point, well made


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Welfare Rights Team, Stockport Advice

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Joined: 16 June 2010

PIP response helpfully directs the Tribunal towards relevant UT decision AP v SSWP :

“15. Logically, the first thing to consider here is the duty of the Secretary of State to
provide, pursuant to rule 24 of the Tribunal Procedure (First-tier Tribunal) (Social Entitlement
Chamber) Rules 2008 copies of all documents relevant to an appeal in the decision maker’s
possession unless a practice direction or direction states otherwise (see in particular
rule 24(4)(b)). That is an important duty, as pointed out by Judge Wright in ST v The
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2012] UKUT 469 (AAC). In appropriate cases it
may be that the duty will require the Secretary of State to produce earlier evidence concerning
disability living allowance awards so long as such evidence can properly be regarded as
relevant to the issues raised by the appeal concerning personal independence payment.
However, it seems to me that that would be quite rare bearing in mind the likelihood of such
evidence being somewhat dated and the likelihood of there being more up to date evidence in
the form of a report prepared by a health professional for the specific purpose of seeking to
establish entitlement to personal independence payment. Nevertheless, in cases where the
Secretary of State decides not to provide such evidence in a response, it does seem to me that
it would be good practice for his Officers, when preparing a submission to the First-tier
Tribunal, or to give it its more correct title the appeal response (see rule 24(1)), to provide
details of the more recent adjudication history concerning disability living allowance,
confirmation of the terms of the most recent award and an indication as to whether there is any
relatively recent medical evidence available to it which it has not disclosed. That is because that
sort of information will assist a tribunal in considering whether there might be a need to
adjourn (though again I think such would be rare) in order to obtain such evidence.”

...and do the papers include details of recent adjudication history, confirmation of the terms of the award, and an indication about available medical evidence?  Um, no.  Couldn’t be bothered.

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

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Joined: 17 June 2010

Be fair. They weren’t compelled. They were merely directed towards good practice. There’s no obligation on them to pursue good practice and they have a long and glorious history of not quite understanding the phrase.

On a more serious note I have to say that my initial joy at tribunals compelling the production of every detail of DLA claims has been tempered by two realisations:

1) As observed above, much of what’s there is too old and often irrelevant.

2) The whole approach is based on an incorrect legal approach to DLA and PIP. There remains this idea that cases are won with medical evidence as opposed to anecdotal evidence. In MH and LD (broadly speaking those cases where a claimant may lack or have reduced insight into their own condition) then fair enough. In most other cases I don’t bother. Medical evidence in those cases is good for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment and maybe the description of some symptoms but if those things aren’t in dispute (and they rarely are) then what’s the gain?