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Tribunal. Was it done within the guidelines?

SomebodyelseSomebodyelse Member Posts: 8 Listener
Hi, 
it’s taken me a very long time to get over a really bad experience I had during my PIP tribunal in October. It took a while to get to the tribunal stage, 3 years in fact. My mandatory was lost by the DWP and I had several cancellations by CAPITA, some as late as an hour before my appointment. 
This tribunal was my second, the first was adjourned as I was told I needed more evidence. While waiting for my first tribunal, my husband, who’s my carer, and I waited in the foyer of the courthouse. A clerk approached and told me there would be a fire drill that day, if it happened during my appointment would I be able to manage the one flight of stairs as the lift would not be allowed use. I had waited since 2017 and weighed up the averages I would have to wait many more months if I kicked up a fuss. I told her I’d take my chance. Thankfully there wasn’t a fire drill while I was in the building. 
Fast forward to October and my second tribunal. We are in the foyer and a clerk approaches, telling me they are having a fire drill.... you know the rest. 
During my tribunal i am asked by the doctor  very early on if I can use stairs. I can but it is a rare event and only with help. He quickly draws my attention to the question the clerk asked at my arrival. No matter how much I tried to explain that a burning building was extreme circumstances he wouldn’t allow me to finish my sentence. In the end I had to ask  the doctor if he had both legs broken and it was the difference between burning alive and dragging himself  down a flight of stairs what would he do. He obviously wouldn’t answer but asked why I received my prescriptions fortnightly, was it because I couldn’t be trusted to take the recommended dose. I asked him what he meant and he ignored my question. 
I felt I was being cross examined. There were some pretty awful moments when my husband tried to prompt  me as my memory is impaired. The doctor, wouldn’t allow him to speak at all. Even when I was giving fresh evidence that hadn’t been received by the panel. 
I decided I wasn’t being treated fairly. I asked why on two separate appointments was I informed of a ‘potential’ fire drill where the lifts wouldn’t be in use and why was a disability tribunal court on a first floor. The panel refused to answer my questions. 
My tribunal was adjourned. I am not going mad, on that day I knew from the moment the clerk mentioned another fire drill I knew something wasn’t right. 
It is too much of a coincidence? I’d like to find out if this has happened to anyone else or anything similar. 

Replies

  • woodbinewoodbine Member Posts: 3,714 Disability Gamechanger
    It does seem shall we say "bait suspect" Do I understand correctly that you haven't yet got a decision on your appeal? I think in your position i would be tempted to put in a complaint but i'm not sure what it would achieve?
    my advice is given freely and is correct to the best of my knowledge.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi,

    I think it's just a coincidence to be honest. What was the reason for it being adjourned again?

    As for your husband not being able to speak for you then this is correct because the panel will want you to tell them in your own words how your conditions affect you. If he was your appointee then he would be able to answer them on your behalf. They have been known to ask the person that's with the claimant if there's anything they want to add at the end but this doesn't always happen.

    Community champion and proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice i have given to members here on the community.
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,924 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi, 
    it’s taken me a very long time to get over a really bad experience I had during my PIP tribunal in October. It took a while to get to the tribunal stage, 3 years in fact. My mandatory was lost by the DWP and I had several cancellations by CAPITA, some as late as an hour before my appointment. 
    This tribunal was my second, the first was adjourned as I was told I needed more evidence. While waiting for my first tribunal, my husband, who’s my carer, and I waited in the foyer of the courthouse. A clerk approached and told me there would be a fire drill that day, if it happened during my appointment would I be able to manage the one flight of stairs as the lift would not be allowed use. I had waited since 2017 and weighed up the averages I would have to wait many more months if I kicked up a fuss. I told her I’d take my chance. Thankfully there wasn’t a fire drill while I was in the building. 
    Fast forward to October and my second tribunal. We are in the foyer and a clerk approaches, telling me they are having a fire drill.... you know the rest. 
    During my tribunal i am asked by the doctor  very early on if I can use stairs. I can but it is a rare event and only with help. He quickly draws my attention to the question the clerk asked at my arrival. No matter how much I tried to explain that a burning building was extreme circumstances he wouldn’t allow me to finish my sentence. In the end I had to ask  the doctor if he had both legs broken and it was the difference between burning alive and dragging himself  down a flight of stairs what would he do. He obviously wouldn’t answer but asked why I received my prescriptions fortnightly, was it because I couldn’t be trusted to take the recommended dose. I asked him what he meant and he ignored my question. 
    I felt I was being cross examined. There were some pretty awful moments when my husband tried to prompt  me as my memory is impaired. The doctor, wouldn’t allow him to speak at all. Even when I was giving fresh evidence that hadn’t been received by the panel. 
    I decided I wasn’t being treated fairly. I asked why on two separate appointments was I informed of a ‘potential’ fire drill where the lifts wouldn’t be in use and why was a disability tribunal court on a first floor. The panel refused to answer my questions. 
    My tribunal was adjourned. I am not going mad, on that day I knew from the moment the clerk mentioned another fire drill I knew something wasn’t right. 
    It is too much of a coincidence? I’d like to find out if this has happened to anyone else or anything similar. 
    The key question here is whether the first and second tribunals were held on the same day of the week. Fire drills, especially weekly ones, are usually on the same day each week otherwise you’re going to quickly have some very angry staff if they exit and find they didn’t have to. If your hearings took place on different days then it may be something to query as then I would agree it begs a question really. 

    Hopefully this will explain in more detail why your husband was prevented from speaking. https://community.scope.org.uk/discussion/56379/representation-and-tribunal-hearings#latest.

    You have it within your power to change all of the above:

    1 - write in to HMCTS solely about the fire drill aspect; explain the distress the thought of going downstairs caused and ask for the district judge to direct that your case to be listed on a day when there definitely isn’t a fire drill. You may not get the direction because, for example, that venue may only host appeals on a limited number of days each week but the request then becomes part of the appeal papers and if you have to pursue this to UT then at least it’s all there. If you get the direction then job done. 

    2 - you need to secure representation for the hearing as you’re not clear what it is you’re going for and what ought to happen on the day and a rep will be able to address both those issues and lay out the case.

    3 - all the stuff around memory impairment should be in a brief written submission laying out the case. It should explain in particular that your husband is your carer and specifically what care he provides and how he assists with your memory. You need to be clear on whether your memory impairment is your phrase for having poor recall or is an actual diagnosed condition etc. 

    4 - medical professionals are poorly trained and equipped for appeals. They can be abrupt and appear rude but if they are excessively so then a judge will usually intervene. Bear in mind they’ve limited time to get to the heart of the matter. The question about prescription frequency is absolutely legitimate and may have given them clues about your memory for example. You don’t have a right to know specifically  what they’re getting at for every single question but if you don’t understand one then just say exactly that. However, whilst a tribunal is meant to be inquisitorial - inquire into the facts rather than grill for them - time limits can mean that doesn’t happen. To stop this happening you can focus on answering questions and not worrying about what they might mean. It’s gruelling but talking about your own health in detail always will be. If the end outcome for you is positive then it will be worth it. 
  • SomebodyelseSomebodyelse Member Posts: 8 Listener
    @mikehughescq
    Thank you for replying to my post. I’m sorry it’s taken me a while to read it but I haven’t been well. 
    I will make inquiries into all the points you have highlighted, especially regarding the fire drill. 
    The point made during my tribunal by the health professional regarding medication was most definitely meant the way it was supposed to. You see the medication he was referring to are opioids. He laughed sarcastically when he asked if the reason I got the meds fortnightly was because I couldn’t be trusted. 
    He was also told my husband was my carer and needed to prompt me before we began. 
    I have never abused my medication, using controlled drugs for over 20 years. 
    The fact this idiot has made this assumption has knocked what little confidence I have left. 
    I am used to doctors that have all the bedside manners of crippin but this guy was way off. 
    I have decided to complain to the court. The information you have given me will be of great help. 
    Thank You again for all your help. 
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