Challenging a PIP decision is straight forward; you just say that you disagree. It is the same when you appeal to a tribunal after the mandatory reconsideration stage. These decisions are mainly about the facts of your case, such as what you can and cannot do when preparing food, washing or bathing or dressing, for example. The decision made by an appeal tribunal cannot be challenged just by saying that you cannot do what they decided you can do.
A tribunal decision can only be challenged by identifying one or more ‘errors of law’ in a document called the statement of reasons, which the tribunal judge has to put together if any party to the appeal requests it. If you are unhappy with the tribunal’s decision, begin by requesting a statement of the tribunal’s reasons for their decision. In that letter/phone call/email, I recommend that you also request a copy of the judge’s ‘record of proceedings’. I always take our own note of the evidence at a hearing and sometimes this can help you to show that the tribunal misinterpreted the evidence that it heard.
If the record of proceedings is hand-written, it can be hard going, but always make the effort as it can pay off. Bear in mind that you need to make the request for these documents within the time limit of one month, that runs from the date that the Decision Notice was sent, or handed, to you by H M Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS). Talk to me if you have missed that time limit as I may be able to help.
The tribunal that heard your PIP appeal is entitled to make what decision it wants, but it must arrive at that decision in a lawful manner. It cannot ignore the law or case law from the Upper Tribunal or higher courts, where it is relevant to your appeal. Where this applies, or where you can show that the tribunal misunderstood the law, this will be an error of law. It is not just about the law though; where the statement of reasons shows that the tribunal ignored or overlooked evidence, or where they have misinterpreted evidence, or taken account of evidence that is not relevant, then this too will be an error of law. In a statement of reasons, the judge will state what the tribunal found to be facts, and will give their reasons for awarding points, or not doing so, for each part of the PIP test that was relevant to your appeal – preparing food, planning and following journeys, etc. Look at those findings of fact, because the tribunal must decide what the facts are, and must not take into account irrelevant facts, if they are to avoid making an error of law. Reasons for a decision must be adequate, showing how the evidence that they read or heard lead them to the facts that they found, and why those facts lead them to apply the law as they did.
Other potential errors of law apply far less often, that the tribunal made a perverse decision, or that there was a breach of the rules of natural justice. You may well have looked at the tribunal’s Decision Notice and thought it ridiculous, but that is very different to showing that it is perverse. Here, you would have to show that the tribunal acted irrationally, that no reasonable tribunal could have made this decision, given the evidence it had before it, and given what the law says. A breach of the rules of natural justice would involve a procedural error, such as not explaining to you at the start of the hearing that some of the points awarded by the Department were in doubt, so far as they were concerned, and might be taken away; or, not allowing you or your witness to speak, when it was their turn.
Put your application for permission to appeal to the Upper Tribunal in writing. Try to keep it concise and avoid the temptation to re-argue the evidence; at this stage, the focus is on matters of law, as outlined above. Do not be put off if the judge turns down your application for permission; it can be renewed, directly to the Upper Tribunal, using the form UT1 that should be sent to you with a refusal decision. It is quite common for an Upper Tribunal judge to find an error of law, where the local judge said no.
There is another way of getting the tribunal’s decision undone, and for you to get another hearing before a different panel, but it will apply far less often. I am talking here about having the decision set aside on procedural grounds. A judge will look at your application without either party being there, and he or she will need to accept that it is in the interests of justice that the decision in your appeal be set aside. In addition, they will need to accept that something went wrong at a procedural level, not looking here at either the facts of your case, matters of law or whether the tribunal made the right decision. Examples of when this would apply would be where you could not attend your hearing, perhaps because you were ill; or, the appeal papers or other evidence was not available to the tribunal when it should have been; or, where evidence was not received by you or the Department when it should have been, giving sufficient time before the hearing.
I have seen examples of where a client has successfully applied for permission to appeal to the Upper Tribunal without representation, but there is no doubt in our minds that your chances of success will be increased by having help from a competent representative. Some clients come to me having been refused permission by the local judge, so that I take over with the application direct to the Upper Tribunal, which is also fine.
“From the moment I spoke to you, you took the anxiety and stress from me. I was still worried about the whole procedure which was affecting my condition. You were so very, very helpful and extremely understanding. I was awarded high Mobility and high daily living. The assessor who came out was a nurse. She was very understanding of my condition and how it affected me. It was a long assessment as I did explain everything in detail. Glenn, you are so very, very good at what you do. Many thanks once again.”
Mrs P of Suffolk 10 July 2019
“We were kept informed of the progress of the claim and the process we followed.
Glenn obviously has good knowledge on the subject and he was to formulate an
accurate statement, and present our case well at the appeal hearing. It is likely that
we will be in touch for help when our renewal form arrives.”
Mr M of Louth
Glenn Brooks is courteous professional and knows his job. I highly recommend him to anyone needing help with PIP. He is cool and calm and after a few minutes speaking to him I was assured that I had made the right decision to ask his help. Most of all you are not forgotten about, as he checks up on how things are, thank you Glenn. And to anyone faced with these forms he is your go to man.
Really professional and expertly researched legal representation. I went from 0 points on ESA to 18 points on appeal and got back in the support group. Highly recommended.
I strongly recommend Using Glen Brooks he is the best you can ever higher using PIP tribunal hearings appeal forms and reconsideration the best Welfare Benefit Solicitor in the whole of UK. I strongly recommend Glen Brooks as the no 1 Welfare Benefit Solicitor.
With many disabilities, my full DLA allowance when changed across to PIP, and following my assessment, was reduced to standard rates, resulting in the loss of my car. Requested for a tribunal, and gobsmacked when the papers arrived, could not believe the ( I worded it inaccuracies) LIES that the assessor had told. Glenn attended the tribunal with me, and I was glad of his experience and reassuring me, if I got really nervous , that he would assist. My PIP was upgraded to enhanced care and mobility. I would certainly recommend that you should not accept any reduction in your benefits and should contact Glenn, I cannot express my gratitude enough.
Do not think of attending a tribunal without this man, he made the whole process so easy for my very stressed, distressed sister, who had her entitlement reduced and her car removed,at the change to PIP, Mr Brooks took the time she needed to calm her and put her at ease with some things that she was very uncomfortable talking about, he did a first class job at very short notice and worked until after 8PM on the evening of her initial interview, we would not hesitate to use his service's again or to recommend him to anyone who needs this kind of help.
Glenn and his team are first class. If you need any help with any benefit he is the number one person to call.
He is excellent at what he does and will always explain to you each step of the process.
Fees are very reasonable for all the work and travel involved.
I have recommended him to people in need of his services.
Even get his help when the first forms drop through your letter box.
What can I say? Glenn has helped my wife with her fight against this injustice winning every time which without him been harder..
I have been dealing with Glenn for many years for help with claiming the right benefit. He helped me a great deal, particularly when the DWP got it very wrong. Glenn was confident and reassuring that I was in the right and we won no problem on appeal. You can be as genuine as possible, with real issues but often it's how those words are put over - this is where Glenn came in. Filled out the same information (mostly) as I did, just worded much better and was successful without any problems. Highly recommend you deal with Glenn if you're worried or have issues. In an ideal world this service should not be needed, but the DWP are ruthless and don't care what your circumstances are.
I would like to thank Glenn Brooks very much for his support and professionalism in dealing with my husbands case. At tribunal Glenn took my husbands ESA case from zero points to support group. Glenn is a very pleasant gentleman. He is very experienced and knowledgeable in his job of supporting and advising on benefit claims. He is clear and to the point and I have no doubt that a genuine claimant will be supported 100% by Glenn. He is very black and white as there is no room for grey areas in these case. I would recommend Glenn to anybody who has a pending appeal or indeed any of the other services he offers. We certainly could not have got through this without his support and very clear understanding. There were no hidden costs everything was very transparent. Professional in every way. Thank you again.
Glenn is absolutely brilliant. I too wish that I had used him to fill the dreaded form in to begin with too! I will definitely be using him in the future if needs be. He was so patient, professional, caring, and a lovely, lovely man. He travelled a long way to deal with my case and was with me every step of the way. His service is not for free, but it is worth every single penny. I don't think I would have got the perfect outcome I did without him. In fact I know I wouldn't have. I highly recommend him him to others.
Thanks so much Glenn.
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