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Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  Decision making and appeals  →  Thread

Issues with Appeal Bundles

Adam BCFU
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Blackpool Centre For Unemployed

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Total Posts: 86

Joined: 9 July 2020

Hi

Hoping for any advice on this one (or even just to know its not just me aha).

I’m having a extremely hard time obtaining appeal bundles for 2 appeals which have both been listed for end of April - one is an Overpayment appeal and one is a PIP appeal.

Overview
I wasn’t informed that either of my appeals was listed nor sent appeal bundles - when I queried this in February, I was told that they had been sent to our old office address and to contact the DWP for the bundles. So, I contacted the DWP giving them my new address and was told they would be sent out straight away. I’m still waiting for these bundles - HMCTS have agreed to send the Overpayment appeal to me directly but will not send the PIP appeal as its been sent to the judge and they only have ONE copy!!!!

Neither client wishes to postpone the hearings which I will am trying my best not to do.

Questions
1). Any-one else had similar situations and could give me advice on what to do next - I’m considering making a complaint but not sure how useful that would be.

2). Is there anything I can pursue re. not being notified of the appeal?

3). When I do go to the appeal, am I within my right to make a point about this lack of co-operation and delay regarding the appeal bundle and notification of the appeal? - My concern is getting a written submission to the panel before the appeal date given that both are telephone hearings.

Thanks

Adam

Mike Hughes
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Senior welfare rights officer - Salford City Council Welfare Rights Service

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Joined: 17 June 2010

You must be under the joy that is Dale Street.

Skeleton staff at present although they seem to forever be in denial about every aspect of what’s going down on the ground.

1) There’s no harm in a complaint. It does HMCTS some good to have these things formally recorded as they tend to have a strong preference for anything which avoids an official statistic. I’d complain about the lack of papers and the lack of a notification.

2) They can do electronic appeal papers. Left to their own devices the Admin will scream that they can’t but they can and especially when directed to do so by a judge.

3) My tactic has always been to mark my correspondence FAO a DJ whether by email or post; mark the subject as an urgent request for directions and then let the DJ direct the Admin to produce the things and get them out electronically. Inevitably a paper set heads to our closed office regardless even when you have an email header saying effectively “You’re not very bright are you. Please don’t do that. Unbelieveably it’s a pandemic and offices are shut.”

The consequence of this approach is about 50/50. Half the time a clerk won’t read the big bold letters starting “FAO” and will just add a numbered version to the papers (even when you don’t yet have them!). The other half of the time it goes to a DJ and either a direction gets issued with deadlines attached, which is embarrassing for all concerned, or, some shouting happens and you get your papers.

ninja9girl
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Derbyshire County Council

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I have an appeal listed for in 2 weeks no appeal bundle sent out.  I contacted Dale St to ask them to note that I hadn’t got the papers and if we didn’t receive them then we would be we would need an adjournment.  They said Judge had got theirs and I had to contact DWP.  I must admit DWP did send out papers immediately but I was expecting them to be awkward about it.

Mike Hughes
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Senior welfare rights officer - Salford City Council Welfare Rights Service

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Total Posts: 2547

Joined: 17 June 2010

ninja9girl - 01 April 2021 01:59 PM

I have an appeal listed for in 2 weeks no appeal bundle sent out.  I contacted Dale St to ask them to note that I hadn’t got the papers and if we didn’t receive them then we would be we would need an adjournment.  They said Judge had got theirs and I had to contact DWP.  I must admit DWP did send out papers immediately but I was expecting them to be awkward about it.

Standard line from Dale Street. Originals are sent by DWP but members copies are coming from HMCTS so requests for missing copies ought to be handled by HMCTS and if you’re adding stuff to the papers then that’s all on HMCTS.

As per my previous post I have never acted on their advice and gone back to DWP. I consider it a complete abdication of responsibility by the Admin at HMCTS. Going for directions puts that request in the papers and the onus on HMCTS to sort it. In my experience over the past year it has sorted it every time. In once case where the judge had the papers and we did not the directions request led to a triage and the correct award without needing to proceed to a phone hearing.