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The upper tribunal has issued guidance to help claimants who are bringing a case without a representative to support them.

The guidance is very short, barely two pages. But it explains how the upper tribunal should work to meet the “overriding objective”, which is to deal with cases fairly and justly, especially where you are a ‘litigant in person i.e. someone representing themselves.

The document sets out some of the things the upper tribunal will do for you.

It explains that in order to get permission to have your case heard by the upper tribunal, you have to show that there was an error of law by the first tier tribunal. This could be something like the tribunal failed to follow proper procedures or failed to act fairly. For example, they may have stopped you giving evidence that you considered vital or they may have made assumptions based on your appearance without telling you that they were doing so.

Or it could be that they applied the law wrongly, for example, by only taking into account your ability to travel by car when considering points for planning and following journeys.

The guidance explains that you do not need to be able to identify an error of law. It is enough that you explain why you are unhappy with the decision and the upper tribunal judge will then look at the papers and decide if there is a case to consider.

The upper tribunal will also help you to understand what is happening at each stage of the procedure and tell you what you need to do next.

The guidance stresses, however, that the tribunal is impartial so it cannot give you advice on what to argue or how to argue it.

We have seen many Benefits and Work members over the years take their case to the upper tribunal and win. This document offers some reassurance to anyone who is considering doing so.

You can download a copy of ‘Guidance For Litigants In Person’.

Comments  

#3 Crazydiamond 2021-01-13 16:17
I have taken many cases to the Commissioners/U pper Tribunal over the last 25 years, and have won ten and lost three.

Even if you cannot readily identify an obvious error of law, often the Upper Tribunal (as it now is), detects legal errors from correspondence submitted by the appellant in support of their appeal, and grant permission. Whilst it is always preferable to seek professional advice, in the current circumstances it can be extremely difficult, if not impossible to do so, but do not be deterred.

Even if you believe it is an error of fact (which cannot be appealed), it could also constitute an error of law, and this will be identified when an appellant seeks leave to appeal from the Upper Tribunal.
#2 DianaW 2021-01-13 10:31
I have found a way to report the failed link to the Government Data Service and have suggested this improvement but the auto-reply warns that they are prioritising Covid-19 related enquiries.

Meantime, it was fairly easy to find the AAC's own webpage, at https://www.gov.uk/courts-tribunals/upper-tribunal-administrative-appeals-chamber. That page contains a "Tribunal Information" heading with several subordinate links. Searching within those links is, however, not user-friendly at all, so I have recommended further signposting.
#1 DianaW 2021-01-13 10:10
The guidance is excellent; very user-friendly. It even provides a footnoted hyperlink to the full, if necessarily much less user-friendly, rules governing the Upper Tribunal's procedures.

Unfortunately, the second footnoted hyperlink, to "more information that you may find helpful on the Administrative Appeals Chamber’s web page" is not working. The guidance is brand new (signed on 4 January 2021) but is already outdated in this respect.
It would have been better if the guidance had contained the AAC's own website address, where the tribunal user could search for/seek help to find this further information, rather than using a direct - now failed - link to a document which was formerly published by the government on their assets.publishi ng.service.gov. uk site.

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