Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
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Tribunal telephone hearing 8 january

I have received a letter saying they are going to do the hearing via telephone so I don't have to appear in person I just have to have my phone available and I can answer all their questions so now I am very nervous

Replies

  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,946 Disability Gamechanger
    The principles of how to conduct yourself during a telephone hearing are the same as during an oral hearing where you’re face to face. 

    1) Concentrate wholly on what you were like on the date of claim.

    2) There are no “trick” questions. Tribunals are usually listed 20 minutes apart so, apart from the appeal papers, they need questions which cut across lots of functions. So the car question is brilliant because it indicates grip; mobility; dexterity; the ability to do something repeatedly; concentration and stamina. Instead of thinking negatively about such stuff think about what they’re getting at and your answers will be much better and more detailed. Similar questions include whether you’ve been on holiday recently. It feeds into mobility (getting across an airport); stamina; the ability to cope alone; the need for aids and appliances.

    3) There are no set rules or order for a hearing beyind the requirement that it must be seen to be fair. 

    4) Normally I would suggest that you watch the judge’s pen but obviously here you can’t do that. All three members may take notes but only the judge writes a record of proceedings. If you don’t want them to miss anything then remember that they can’t write as fast as you can speak, so slow down. Don’t worry about going too slow. They will tell you if you do.

    5) Never interrupt any tribunal member. It is perfectly okay to challenge them provided it’s not rude or aggressive. However, think about whether what you’re challenging them on is directly related to points. If it’s not then better to focus on points. This is especially important because loads of people second guess the demeanour of tribunal members as determining whether they are pro or against and it’s largely nonsense. An aggressive, challenging member may well just be a poor communicator and wholly on your side right up to the point you challenge them etc.

    6) Get yourself a representative if you can.

    7) Same goes for clothes. You need to wear whatever makes you feel comfortable and relaxed. If you’re not relaxed then the likelihood of you presenting well are much reduced. Dressing down is not a good idea unless that all you can afford. A person who feels naked without make-up or a suit and tie will similarly be over stressed if they try to pretend they’re in their comfort zone dressing down. 

    8) Other people’s tribunal experience can be valuable but it’s just that. Their experience. If they lost then it’s the tribunal to blame. If they win they everything they did is why they won and what you must do. The truth is usually very much in between.

    9) Know your case. What points are you going for and why. What’s your evidence? “The HCP was a liar” is neither evidence nor a winning strategy. Also, know the appeal papers. What’s where. Have them in front of you during the call.

    10) Do not be tempted to claim you’ve worsened since the date of claim. That’s a recipe for a failed appeal and an invitation to make another claim. Even if you have got worse always concentrate on your date of claim and what you were like then.

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