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Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  Decision making and appeals  →  Thread

Dealing with an allegation of fraud in tribunal proceedings?

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Welfare Rights Adviser - Southwark Law Centre, Peckham

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Joined: 25 February 2014

Or, more accurately, the title should read “Dealing with a mud-slinging allegation of fraud in tribunal proceedings?”

Brief synopsis. Elderly and vulnerable claimant taken advantage of and deceived by former (non-resident) partner. Her claiming UC from his address without his knowledge led to a mixed-age couple decision and termination of HB. She then disappears abroad.

In terms of the appeal, I’m confident of winning - the LA have nothing to show my client had knowledge of former partner’s actions and there is no evidence of joint financial interests etc. And no evidence she actually lived with him. I will be sticking it to them about the fact the LA has had approaching 18 months between its original decision and the presentation of its subs in the appeal where it could have investigated further - i.e. it presents the CIS and WURTI information from the date of its decision, but despite our raising the fact our client was the victim of deception, it has not repeated that exercise. Clearly, more up-to-date evidence of whether the former partner is still claiming UC, if so from what address, whether she is still working and if so, using what address might all be relevant to helping establish whether, on the balance of probabilities, he’s likely to be telling the truth. 

LA respondent’s position has been adversarial throughout - but what I’m really livid about is the statement in their subs that “fraud is being committed” where there is no evidence of this and where they’ve not taken up our invite to interview under caution. Of course, they’ve not actually said outright that it is my client committing fraud - one could interpret the statement as referring to the former partner. But she’s not a party to proceedings and if that was what is meant, the LA could have said so. As it is, it’s clearly a scurrilous attempt at mud-slinging - and I think on the entirety of the LA’s approach to other aspects of the case I may well actually use those words in my subs.  But I don’t really feel that is quite enough, it deserves more than a few choice words. But what to do? Specifically, that is, in terms of the tribunal - I’ll wait on the LA’s complaints procedure etc until we have the FTT decision in the bag.

Paul Stockton
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Epping Forest CAB

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All I would say is: don’t descend to their level. I would expect the tribunal to be more impressed with your cool, forensic demolition of the LA’s case than with expressions like “scurrilous” and “mud-slinging.”

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Welfare Rights Adviser - Southwark Law Centre, Peckham

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Total Posts: 1124

Joined: 25 February 2014

I am limited in what I can say/reveal here, but given what I have in front of me, those terms are quite restrained. But yes, I very likely won’t use them.

Regardless, I suppose it’s a case of wanting to do my best to properly hold the LA’s feet to the fire on baseless - but very serious - allegation of fraud. You shouldn’t just be able to say stuff like that with impunity. A few years back I could have been more or less sure the FtT would do that itself, without any nudge from me, but these days I’m less certain…..