18 June, 2020
Tribunals Judiciary confirms that there are no face to face social security hearings at present and, where an oral hearing is directed, it will probably take place as a telephone hearing
New guidance also confirms that some appeals are being determined more quickly where it leaves the appellant with no financial support
The Tribunals Judiciary has issued new guidance confirming that there are no face to face social security hearings at present due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and that where an oral hearing is directed it will probably take place as a telephone hearing.
In 'Social Entitlement Chamber Frequently Asked Questions', the Tribunals Judiciary advises that in respect of appeal hearings for social security and child support -
- the Tribunals Service is continuing to hear appeals - some appeals are decided on the papers, even though an oral hearing has been requested, where there are special circumstances;
- the Tribunals Service is not running face to face hearings at present - where an oral hearing is directed, it will probably take place via a telephone hearing;
- representatives can also participate in a telephone hearing as can a representative of the First-tier agency; and
- interpreters will be provided for telephone hearings where requested.
In addition, in respect of the appeal decision, the guidance highlights that -
- no appeal is being delayed until after the end of the pandemic - the Tribunals Service will make every effort to list appeals as soon as possible;
- some appeals are determined more quickly where it is known that the decision under appeal leaves the appellant with no financial support because they have no benefit in payment - such cases may be decided by an authorised judge sitting alone who will consider the papers and either a) where it is appropriate, make a decision or b) direct a remote telephone hearing; and
- for other high priority matters relating to personal independence payment, disability living allowance for children and attendance allowance, appellants can request an urgent hearing giving reasons and the application will be considered on the papers by an authorised judge sitting alone - it may be possible for that judge to make an immediate decision or to direct a remote telephone hearing and / or make further directions.
Social Entitlement Chamber Frequently Asked Questions is available from judiciary.uk