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A claimant who has waited over six months for a decisions on their PIP claim has launched judicial review proceedings against the DWP, but planned changes to the law mean that such challenges may soon be impossible.

Solicitors Irwin Mitchell are representing Ms C, from Kent, who has suffered with severe depression for most of her life and was diagnosed with ME and high blood pressure in 2009. The condition causes severe physical exhaustion and a host of other health problems. She applied for PIP in January 2014 after her condition worsened and she was forced to leave her job.

Ms C said:

“The delay has had a massive impact on my life. I applied for PIPs so I could look after myself, but without it I can barely eat and only ever leave my house for a weekly trip to a supermarket.

“While PIP wouldn’t solve all of my problems, without it I just feel financially and socially isolated.”

Irwin Mitchell’s Public Law team argues that the Secretary of State’s practice of taking approximately six months or more to determine PIP claims is unreasonable, given that the purpose of PIP is to support disabled people of working age who have extras costs caused by long-term ill health or a disability.

Solicitor Anne-Marie Irwin said:

“The delays are putting people at a significant disadvantage and if their PIP claims are granted it would meet the additional financial costs which arise because of an illness or disability and so enable them to benefit from a greater quality of life.

"It is clear that urgent action is needed on this issue."

However, a bill currently going through the House of Lords will make it virtually impossible for ordinary people to seek judicial review of unfair decisions, because they will potentially be liable for massive legal costs from the outset of the case. The bill also makes charities who support judicial reviews liable for costs.

In the future a claimant wishing to bring a case in the same way as Mrs C would have to be prepared to face having costs of tens of thousands of pounds awarded against them, even when they can scarcely afford to feed and clothe themselves.

Combined with the Conservative party’s stated aim of repealing the Human Rights Act, the possibility of claimants getting justice in the future seems to be diminishing rapidly.

You can read more about the case of Mrs C on the Irwin Mitchell website.

You can read more about the threat to judicial review on the politics.co.uk website

Comments  

+3 #8 angela 2014-10-27 09:40
Maybe the next bill this government will pass will be to make assisted
suicide legal that way it will help them cut back a bit more on the welfare bill
+1 #7 David 2014-10-27 01:31
I wonder what the score is by getting a loan against a property to cover the period & costs of a high court appeal and claiming interest when you win?

I also wonder how you will be classed if you keep collapsing at a forced employment and require an ambulance to take you to hospital numerous times before the company releases you on the grounds you of being too sick to sensibly work the required number of hours for a minimum wage .

I'm most certainly not worth employing at the minimum wage unless there is a full wet room facility for when I crap & pee myself ,d a day bed for me to use several times a day and a nurse to to massage the muscle spasms I my back from head to toe & apply /position a decent heat lamps six or seven 5 min periods till I fall asleep with exhaustion and partial release of pain & spams for a few more hours.

I don't think they'd supply me with a driver to take me to the work place or bring me home when things go pear shaped either .

If it weren't for the spell check etc. I doubt many of you would be reading or understanding most of this post
+1 #6 Jim Allison 2014-10-26 18:15
This is yet another move by a non-elected coalition government in an attempt to curtail the right to a Judicial Review.

It shouldn't affect me, as I was over 65 years of age with indefinite awards of DLA mobility & care when the Welfare Reform Act was passed on 8 April 2013 . Despite this I, at sometime in the future, expect to be asked to claim PIP. But because I receive a full state pension and a local government pension, and because it is more or less certain that DLA/PIP will be taxed if this government are re-elected. I will lose everything.

I've already booked my one way holiday to Zurich !
+2 #5 tintack 2014-10-26 00:15
Quoting Paul Richards:
Hi tintack & Blackcat - very interesting comments and both of you have hit it on the dead once again.

By the way, you all may be interested in this new 'Government idea' announced by Mark Harper.
I dont' know exactly what to make of it - is it being useful to the disabled (?) or just condescending to them and to make extra millions of pounds for inventors, as well as trying to make the Govt look better in the general public's eyes. I will leave you to make up your own minds!

http://www.talktalk.co.uk/news/uk/article/gadgets-contest-to-help-disabled/147563


On the face of it it looks fine, but disabled people aren't likely to have much of the spending power mentioned in the article if they've already been driven into destitution by the WCA regime and other welfare "reforms".
+1 #4 Paul Richards 2014-10-25 18:06
Hi tintack & Blackcat - very interesting comments and both of you have hit it on the dead once again.

By the way, you all may be interested in this new 'Government idea' announced by Mark Harper.
I dont' know exactly what to make of it - is it being useful to the disabled (?) or just condescending to them and to make extra millions of pounds for inventors, as well as trying to make the Govt look better in the general public's eyes. I will leave you to make up your own minds!

http://www.talktalk.co.uk/news/uk/article/gadgets-contest-to-help-disabled/147563
+3 #3 tintack 2014-10-24 19:45
So, we'll have claimants unable to bring a case because they won't be able to take the risk of being liable for huge legal costs, and charities who support them in the same boat. Legal aid has already been slashed. If the Tories win in May, the Human Rights Act is history, and charges for appeals are certain to happen. In other words, the only people who will have access to justice will be the wealthy, who won't be on benefits in the first place. So the only people who will have the capacity to appeal will be those who don't need to.

But of course, you can be sure the Tories will still claim that anyone can appeal if they want to. Justice for the rich, do as you're bloody well told for the rest of us. It's a Tory wet dream. Still, if they're accused of violating our rights, they will at least be able to point out that they can't possibly have done so, since by then we won't have any rights left to violate.

And what of the press that howled and squealed at the prospect of Leveson, on the grounds that it would hinder investigative journalism and thus make it harder to hold the government to account? Have they simply not noticed that this is happening? Presumably the likes of the Mail and Express would support it with nauseating enthusiasm anyway.

It seems that as far as the Tories are concerned, democracy is a failed experiment that causes far too much trouble. We can't have the uppity peasants getting ideas above their station, can we? Perhaps the Tories' slogan for the next election should be: "Feudalism - the Right past for Britain's future".
+2 #2 Blackcat 2014-10-24 19:07
Hi
House of Lords!! Did I vote for any of those people? Maybe somebody ought to take this up with the European Court and declare the rulings of the House of Lords illegal under EEC law.Radical suggestion, get rid of the Privy Council, and blow the dust off the constitution passed in the reign of William & Mary. How many other EEC countries have unelected second chambers,and Cameron and others blether on about Europe being 'Unaccountable' Where are the 'Lords Spiritual' If the Church of England does not want to get involved, then get out of The House of Lords, I shall accept your mass resignations.
'Slave labour' As far as I know Zero Hours contracts have no basis in law. I am registered with HMRC with my unique tax reference,I am also a licensed Pedlar, when my ESA comes through,should Capt Ian Duncan-Smith [of the Scots guards] try and put me on a placement,my new 'host' employer will get a standardised service invoice for ten hours work,travel expenses and money for Class 2 Nat Ins contributions.p ayable in cash and in advance for one month. If it looks like a job feels like a job,then it is a job,I get paid.
+3 #1 Paul Richards 2014-10-24 15:15
Hi all,
Trying to get rid of the people's right to a Judicial Review is yet another potential step towards Britain becoming an Authoritarian State - this is the sort of thing that has already been done in such countries as North Korea and China. No one has any say in these countries whatsoever and if they do, they are clapped in jail.
Can no-one stop this Coalition from doing or attempting to do this?
Also today, news that a man has been jailed for employing someone under 'slave labour'.
We had 2 World Wars to prevent Authoritarianism.
Obviously one law for him and another law for our Government who already basically uses 'slave labour' at times under it's Work Programme!

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