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2 April 2007

Benefits and Work has obtained a confidential Tribunals Service document which contains more than 30 ready written reasons for refusing a claimant's Disability Living Allowance appeal. The document carries a 'Serious Health Warning' that it should not be misused. However, tribunal chairs are not paid for writing reasons for their decisions and so may be tempted to take a short cut that could render their decision unlawful. The article also introduces the concept of the 'Golden partner': the carer the tribunal doesn't trust but isn't prepared to say so.

Checking service
Benefits and Work can only publish a small selection of the standard phrases because of the laws of copyright. Nor are they available via the Freedom of Information Act, which does not apply to the Tribunals Service. However, we have provided an overview of many of the standard phrases and paragraphs, which may assist claimants and representatives, when preparing appeals, in assessing the strength of evidence you intend to place before a tribunal.

In addition, organisational members can provide Benefits and Work with any sentences or paragraphs they have seen repeatedly and we will check and inform them whether they are ready-made ones. We have also produced a sample submission for use by organisational members for appeals to the Commissioners in circumstances where the use of these standard phrases may constitute an error of law.

The ready-made reasons are divided into the following categories:

Conflicting evidence
Rejecting appellant's evidence
Accepting examining medical practitioner report
Rejecting general practitioner evidence
Higher rate mobility
Lower rate mobility
Care- the "golden partner"
Main meal test

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