What reasonable adjustments were agreed for a First-tier Tribunal hearing in a PIP (Personal Independent Payment) appeal and why was an urgent hearing granted in a case that started in 2019??
By John Brace – Appellant
Leonora Brace – Appellant’s Representative
First publication date: Saturday 1st January 2022, 21:37 (GMT).
Regular readers of this blog will know that I previously published a piece about a First-tier Tribunal hearing on the 14th December 2021 in Birkenhead involving an appeal of a PIP (Personal Independence Payment) mandatory reconsideration decision by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions made in 2019.
At the time I wrote a very short piece, but as now a couple of weeks has passed, I wanted to provide more detail.
As the case is currently as far as I can tell still classed as active, I’m somewhat restricted in what I can or can’t publish about it because of contempt of court rules, which will also mean I’ll be turning comments off.
However documents referred to at the hearing on 14th December 2021 (as this was a public hearing) are classed as being in the public domain and as far as I am aware there’s also a copyright exemption in UK law to the publication reports of judicial proceedings.
The reason for the hearing on the 14th December 2021 was that an urgent hearing had been agreed previously by the Regional Tribunal Judge (as you can see below this a copy of that judicial decision).
Out of openness and transparency, I’m including that prior judicial decision below (as it has already been decided in response to an application made by my representative so by my reading contempt of court rules don’t apply to it – plus I am pretty sure that the decision and associated application was mentioned during the public hearing itself).
As to what can (or can’t) be published, I’m for maximum openness linking to the 2 binding judicial decisions that I know of which are relevant to publication –  UKUT 310 (AAC) and  EWCA Civ 420.
I’m also in case there is any confusion and to try and prevent any future grumpy emails from either HMCTS or the judiciary asking me to unpublish this (as strangely in the UK it appears some people seem to believe that the concept of the memory hole from George Orwell’s 1984 exists) by also linking to the statute which states a decision on an application is regarded as a distinct proceeding, as well as section 12 of the Human Rights Act 1998 and point out that in addition to the above I believe that there is a public interest in the judicial decision below being published.
To my knowledge it hasn’t been published so far.
In the interests however of accuracy I will point out that paragraph 2 refers to an earlier hearing on “28th February 2021”, whereas this was a hearing held on 28th February 2020.
As the scan of this judicial decision (which I think is a copy of the original) is somewhat faint and hard to read, I’m including merely the text of it below (which means that images such as a signature and the royal coat of arms are merely described instead). I’ve redacted my NINO (National Insurance Number) on privacy grounds and replaced it with XXXs and left out the table formatting between “SOCIAL ENTITLEMENT CHAMBER” and “DIRECTIONS NOTICE” and also further table formatting at the end of the decision.
(Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom – a lion to the left (with a crown), a unicorn to the right, the text at the bottom “Dieu et mon droit” and also the phrase “Honi soit qui mal y pense”)
SOCIAL ENTITLEMENT CHAMBER
Appellant: Mr John Michael Brace
Tribunal Ref: SC062/19/01113
NINO: XX XX XX XX X
Respondent: Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
- On 26th October 2021 Mr Brace, acting through his representative lodged an urgent application for listing directions.
- On 28th February 2021 this appeal was adjourned with directions. A copy of that Adjournment Notice accompanies these directions.
- Mr Brace has provided a copy of his GP notes in line with the invitation made at the adjourned hearing. The GP notes have been added to the bundle.
- The Respondent (The DWP) was directed to provide a copy of the papers relating to Mr Brace’s previous claim for Disability Living Allowance.
- Those papers have not been provided and the Respondent (The DWP) has not explained why these directions have been disregarded.
- The Respondent (The DWP) must provide those papers to the Tribunal no later than 12th November 2021.
- If they cannot be produced an explanation must be provided in writing to explain why they cannot be produced.
- This appeal is to be listed for hearing on the first available date after 1st December 2021.
- Mr Brace has indicated that he does not require a palantypist to assist at the hearing and the requirement to provide one is removed.
- Mr Brace has, via his representative, requested some additional reasonable adjustments.
- So that breaks can be arranged for Mr Brace to rest during the hearing the appeal is to be listed for an entire session.
- Arrangements are to be made for Mr Brace to have the assistance and support of his representative at the point of entry to the court building to assist with communication during security procedure and the security guard is to be made aware of these requirements.
- The listing team are to ensure that all three members of the Tribunal are comfortable to conduct the hearing without face coverings so that Mr Brace is able to take advantage of the option to lip read.
TCE/IDN VERSION 1 07/08
- Arrangements must take account of the need to provide a safe working environment for the Tribunal and all participants.
- A Presenting Officer must attend the hearing.
- In making these directions I am applying Rule 2 to avoid delay.
- Any request for directions by either party must come to me.
A party is entitled to challenge any direction by applying for another direction which amends, suspends or sets aside the first direction.
Signed: (signature of M E Clarke) Regional Tribunal Judge Date: 27th October 2021
Issued to the parties on: 1/11/21
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