7.4. Decisions

Much of the procedure following decisions is laid out in The Tribunal Procedure (First-Tier Tribunal) (Social Entitlement Chamber) Rules 2008.

In many cases, after the hearing, the Appellant and Rep will be asked if they would like to wait and receive the decision notice on the day. In other cases, the decision notice will be posted by first class post. The decision notice is a short document giving the bare details of the decision; a full judgement is termed a Statement of Reasons and is available on request.

If the appeal is allowed and the award increased, claims will be backpaid to the date the claim was made, or the date the previous award under reassessment terminated, depending on the award history.

If the appeal is disallowed and no award is made or the previous level of award is maintained, the Appellant or their representative can request a Record of Proceedings and a Statement of Reasons. This is the first step that must be taken before a first-tier Tribunal decision may be appealed. Requests can be made in a short, simple email and should be made within one month of the decision date. It is important to remind clients that tribunal decisions can only be challenged further in very limited circumstances.

Upon receiving the Statement of Reasons, for there to be grounds to make an Application for Permission to Appeal a decision, it must be shown that the Tribunal made an error in law. This can consist of the misinterpretation or limited interpretation of a descriptor, the failure to apply relevant case law, or simply the failure to give proper reasoning for their entire decision or portions thereof. Applications must be made within one month of the date of the Statement of Reasons (with justification given if the application is made out of time), and must describe the alleged errors in law, and the result that is being sought.

The Application will be considered by another First-Tier judge. If successful, the original decision will be set-aside and the case either referred to the Upper Tribunal or relisted to be heard in front of another First-Tier Tribunal. Unless there has been the rare occurrence of conflicting interpretations of the law, the latter option is overwhelmingly more likely. If unsuccessful, a second application can be made, this time directly to an Upper Tribunal judge. This second Application for Permission to Appeal can be covered by legal aid.

It should be noted that the DWP has the right to request a Statement of Reasons, and the current guidance is that they should only do so when strongly considering an appeal to the Upper Tribunal. DWP requests for Statements of Reasons are very rare, and appeals to the Upper Tribunal rarer still.

Last updated on February 22nd, 2019 at 04:33 pm