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Pip appeal to upper tribunal

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Welfare rights officer / The Benefit Advice Shop / Rhyl

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HELP! Any information on autistic adults applying to the upper tribunal. I am the representative and I beleive my client has a good case for an award. Thank you in advance.

Elliot Kent
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There is not really a great deal to go on here. At a base level, the point of the Upper Tribunal is to look at whether the FtT decision involves an error of law; so you need to review the SOR as to whether there are any arguable errors of law (e.g. legislation being incorrectly interpreted or applied, reasons for conclusions not being sufficiently explained, procedural errors in dealing with the case) and then you need to be able to concisely and clearly explain these errors and why they are material (i.e. that it could have resulted in a different outcome to the appeal). In a routine case which isn’t dealing with a novel or controversial point, putting together strong grounds of appeal and getting permission to appeal from the UT is usually the bulk of the work.

Whether your client ultimately has a strong case for an award isn’t really important. In the overwhelming majority of cases, the UT is about whether the FtT dealt with the appeal consistently with the law, not whether your client should or should not get the benefit. It is important that you are not just trying to re-argue the facts of the case at the UT as these sorts of arguments will not succeed and will probably just distract from any meritorious arguments you could be making. This is the main way that unrepresented appellants and newer representatives go wrong at UT.

Your client also needs to understand that success at the UT normally means remittal to a complete re-hearing many months from now - they could end up winning at the UT only to have a different FtT refuse their appeal anyway. It is extremely rare for the UT to substitute its own decision in disability related appeals.

If you have not dealt with these cases before, I suggest that you consider making a referral to an agency who deals with UT appeals (legal aid may still be available depending on the circumstances) or at least engage some support from CPAG’s Upper Tribunal Assistance Project (

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

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Bedford Street is still going. Welcome to the forum Clairebear you have just made my day.