Tribunals Service cannot keep up with the number of appeals

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lankou

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https://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/news/4110-tribunals-service-unable-to-keep-up-with-rise-in-appeals
Tribunals Service unable to keep up with rise in appeals
Category: Latest news
Created: 04 November 2019
 The Tribunals Service has been unable to keep up with the rapid rise in appeals, caused primarily by an increase in the number of personal independence payment (PIP) challenges, according to a report released last week.

https://www.judiciary.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/6.5845_The-Senior-President-of-Tribunals-Annual-Report-2019_Print_NoCrops.pdf

The ‘Senior President of Tribunals’ Annual Report’ reveals that “the rapid rise in appeal numbers has outstripped our ability to recruit and train sufficient numbers of panel members to keep pace”.
Appeals reached a peak of over half a million a year before plummeting to 112,000 in 2014-15, after the DWP introduced its cynical mandatory reconsideration before appeal system.
However numbers are rising again.
Appeals went up to 157,000 in 2016, to 228,000 in 2017 and to 238,00 in 2018.
The Tribunals Service has been desperately recruiting more panel members to try to cope with the increase in demand.
In the last year they have appointed 130 new judges, 225 medically qualified members and 125 disability qualified members.
Others steps have also been taken to try to deal with demand.
These include cramming more PIP appeals into each session and trying to resolve more cases before they reach a hearing.
In addition, a pilot for the new online resolution system is due to begin shortly.

Sunny Clouds

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I'm annoyed with myself over something relating to the appeal figures.

I haven't been keeping up with reading Private Eye and have been working through a backlog and found a letter I wish I'd read and replied to.

PEye has done various stories about benefits assessments and appeals.  It refers to 'Crapita' but never seemed to find a suitable equivalent name for Atos or Maximus.

A letter-writer complained that whilst they've given figures for the proportion of appeals that succeed, they haven't mentioned the proportion of decisions that aren't appealed.

If I'd read it when it was published, I'd have wanted to check the costs of an appeal and then write in saying about how there's no legal aid for it now and asking how people are supposed to appeal without legal aid, especially if their disability gets in the way.

(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

Sunny Clouds

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As regards an online resolution system, that worries me.

I daresay some would prefer it, but I think a lot of people would feel pushed into using it even if they weren't comfortable with it or if it was more perilous than they thought, and I think that it is likely to be designed in a way that could trip a lot of people up.  (Cynical?  Moi?)

Come to think of it, there's an obvious reason why this online system would be a problem.  It's being touted as an alternative to recruiting more panel members.  So then what - who's going to decide?  Not a proper panel?  Just one person?  If it's not a 'tribunal', what qualifications does that person have to have?

Oh well, another bit of the justice system goes out of the window.

Mentally I'm mapping it onto the effect of when they introduced fees for unfair dismissal tribunal cases.  You get sacked so your benefits claim gets 'sanctioned' (see comment on word below).  Now you're desperately focussed on trying to find the money for your rent/mortgage, food, other essentials...where's the money for an unfair dismissal case?

(Re. 'sanctioned'.  It was only recently I realised why I dislike the word so much.  The normal meaning of 'sanction' is 'approve' or 'allow'.  So this use of the word can neutralise references to how awful it is when people tell others or contact media outlets.  I daresay this was obvious to several or all others here.)
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

Monic1511

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Hi
I'm an appeal rep in Scotland where you can only rep if you are not a lawyer and you cannot claim legal aid which is another reason lawyers don't rep here.

I am very unsure of the situation down south but I know you do have welfare rights officers as well.

The biggest concern is that people are not appealing decisions made especially those made by universal credit.  This is because decisions are posted online and many people cant open the pdf file or read it on their phones.

salaries are here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/judicial-salaries-and-fees-2019-to-2020

The full time judges will probably chair 2 full days of DLA/PIP/AA ESA appeals which would be 4 PIPs & 2 ESA cases.   In my area there are 15 rooms and at its busiest 10 rooms are in use, more than that gets very overcrowded in the waiting room.

Online appeals are not a good idea, similarly there will now be phone appeals rather than domicillaries because its not safe for judge doctor lay member clerk PO and rep to be in a clients house.

Im still recovering from Fridays appeals so wont comment much more >yikes<