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Tribunal advice ASAP

charlotte441 Member Posts: 45 Connected
Hi everyone,

a neighbour has asked for advice which I can’t comment on as I haven’t been in this position but said your all great with advice. 

1. How many people are there? In the room. 
2. What type of questions they ask. 
3. Does it last for long? ( depending on case ). 
4. Do they make you feel uncomfortable?
5. Reading recent posts on here and other sites ( recent ones) DWP haven’t attended not sure why. 

6. if you win your case at tribunal what happens then? lastly , before you go to court can DWP change there mind? 

Will pass post on. 


  • chiarieds
    chiarieds Community Co-Production Group Posts: 12,265 Disability Gamechanger
  • woodbine
    woodbine Community Co-Production Group Posts: 7,141 Disability Gamechanger
    There are no face2face tribunals during the current crisis.
    Be extra nice to new members.
  • mikehughescq
    mikehughescq Posts: 8,845 Connected
    1 - regardless of whether oral or phone hearing there will usually be panel of 3 plus a clerk. There may also be a rep from DWP and 1 or more observers. The last is rare but not that rare and is usually for training purposes. Tribunals are open. Members of the public can attend but it’s unheard of. You can of course bring your own observers with advance notice.

    2 - depends on the make-up of the panel but usually one member focuses on mobility and the other on daily living whilst the judge takes notes. Slightly different at present as telephone hearings are recorded.

    3 - booked for 45 minutes in the NW but 1 hour apart in other areas. Usually budged for 90 minutes. I’ve had 1 multiple cases just less than 5 minutes and several that took all day. 1 slot becomes 2 if there’s an interpreter etc. 

    4 - you are as uncomfortable as your mindset and your health dictate. Few tribunals will make you feel uncomfortable but for some the stress is too much even when the experience itself is fine. 

    5 - on telephone hearings there often isn’t enough capacity to have a DWP PO. At oral hearings it’s patchy but largely makes no difference to how things proceed. 

    6 - it’s increasingly common for DWP to make an offer on the week or two before the hearing. This will rarely be at the rate or for the length of award you could achieve by carrying on but there’s nothing to stop you accepting the money to get something into payment and then appealing again anyway. What happens post appeal really depends on the DWP view of the outcome. They have a right of further appeal just like you do but it’s rarely exercised in full.
  • charlotte441
    charlotte441 Member Posts: 45 Connected
    Hi everyone,

    who’s been to a tribunal ? if so Is it scary? what happens if you win? also I have spoken to others on other forums and they said no one came from the DWP which surprises me tbh. also anything else to add in just mention it. thanks everyone. 
  • mikehughescq
    mikehughescq Posts: 8,845 Connected
    It’s not scary unless you’re inclined to see it as scary. The more you know in advance the less scary it will be so keep asking questions. 

    If you win then DWP either pay up or exercise their right of appeal.

    DWP presenting officers ought to be at every hearing. They dint have the staff but they do dime to some. There’s little to fear on that front as the overwhelming majority know little of the law.
  • charlotte441
    charlotte441 Member Posts: 45 Connected
    @mikehughescq can I have some advice please 
  • mikehughescq
    mikehughescq Posts: 8,845 Connected
    @charlotte441 I don’t/can’t do one to one advice on here. I tend to post when I think I can contribute something that others can’t. However, ask away.
  • charlotte441
    charlotte441 Member Posts: 45 Connected
    @mikehughescq oh ok ? I no 3 people that have been to Tribunal ( at court )- before covid and one all 3 occasions the DWP didn’t turn up. that shocks me as I thought they would have a rep there. all 3 of them go over 8K rightly so. the DWP didn’t even appeal any of them which also shocks me. So many people give in too easy to the DWP but I don’t. I couldn’t careless it mine doesn’t go a head on the review because I no I will **** easy get it at tribunal so not bother either way ? but thanks ? 
  • mikehughescq
    mikehughescq Posts: 8,845 Connected
    Ah, well that’s not really advice. That’s just info. 

    So, historically DWP used to send a Presenting Officer (PO) to all appeals. The PO was often but not always the actual decision maker and, as you can imagine, this became a problem when claimants learnt or assumed their PO was the DM. I was certainly witness to one act of violence on a PO many years ago. Regardless, the original POs were there to be a neutral amicus curiae i.e. a friend of the tribunal. There to help explain decisions. Many were brilliant and helpful.

    A policy change led to no POs being the actual DM but this meant POs began to be people from sections other than the appeal section and who had no skin in the game so to speak and who increasingly didn’t have the time to turn up and only did so often as a way to stay out of the office or apparent spite (in my personal view only). 

    We eventually hit a period of no POs at all which considerably upset HMCTS as they felt it disrespectful to the process (or so they said). I suspect it was more that not having DWP there left them vulnerable to unwarranted criticism about failure to take certain things into account and probably increased the number of set aside applications. The amounts of money at stake were irrelevant as it was a policy decision to not attend any.

    Eventually government decreed POs would return and a new tranche were recruited but with a new remit of “defending decisions”. Recruitment was insufficient and training on the law appears negligible. On the occasions they do appear they are somewhere between totally silent/ineffective and aggressive/legally clueless and tend to take a battering. I’ve no idea why a claimant would want them there and their contribution is negligible. 


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