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TOPIC: Who exactly can be a representative?

Re:Who exactly can be a representative? 8 years 4 months ago #17520

pata1 wrote:

Hi Rich,

Jim sneaked onto the laptop whilst I was at the corner shop, he's supposed to be on bed rest as he's just out of hospital recently !

The Social Security and Child Support (Decisions and Appeals) Regulations 1999 is still the main definitive legislation on Decisions & Appeals. The Tribunal Procedure (First-tier Tribunal) (Social Entitlement Chamber) Rules 2008 were issued as a Statutory Instrument to modify parts of the 1999 Act, mainly to give more authority to Tribunal Judges (formerly called District or Regional Chairman)

Section 11 doesn't change the role of a representative, it only changes procedural matters as you will find out if you try to speak for your partner if the tribunal addresses questions to her. With Jim's assistance I'm training with a local advice agency to become a tribunal advocacy officer. I sat in on a couple of tribunals recently and the Judge came down like a ton of bricks on a CAB rep who constantly tried to state his client's needs rather than the appellant when questioned.

Regretfully, our ( B & W) copy of 'The Benchbook' was written in 2006 and is the 8th edition. Since then there have been two updates the latest edition 10 was recent, and still contains the chapter on representatives, but it's now Chapter 60. The Benchbook used to be in the public domain, but for reasons unknown it was withdrawn and despite a Freedom of Information Act request from Jim, it was refused, but Jim has access to the most recent and this remains at 60 (6)

6. It is the appellant who must give evidence as to the facts in issue, not the representative; the representative is there solely to assist the appellant to put his case by directing the tribunal to any relevant facts or law that he wishes them to consider but he should not be allowed to deflect the tribunal from what will normally be their main task, i.e. assessing the credibility of the appellant. This task cannot properly be carried out unless the tribunal hear from and question the appellant directly.

This might be of interest also Your Appeal - What Happens Next

Hope this is of help.

Good luck.

Pat

PS. CD if you see this post, I'd be grateful if you could confirm what I've stated.


Hi Pat,

I can confirm what you have said is indeed correct.

CD

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Nothing on this board constitutes legal advice - always consult a professional about specific problems

Re:Who exactly can be a representative? 8 years 4 months ago #17664

Hi Richard

I'm not sure if my very limited experience (1 successful appeal) is typical or useful, but here goes:-

I appeared as both representative and witness for a relative with mental health problems which include anxiety and communication problems. He has lived with me for some years so I was in a good position to know the facts of his problems. I had also accompanied him on all GP and hospital visits, medicals etc.

As part of the written grounds for appeal, he signed a short statement authorising me to submit the detailed reasons for appeal, which ran to several A4 pages and aligned his symptoms/behaviours with the ESA50 activities. He countersigned his agreement with the accuracy of my submission.

At the tribunal, the doctor addressed me rather than him throughout, with many searching but fair and relevant questions. At the very end she asked my relative to confirm what had been said. He nodded and mumbled and that was it. The result was an increase from zero to 39 points.

I should caution you that I put a very large effort into understanding the system and preparing for the tribunal, and got very angry at times. (Unfitness for purpose, bullying, unfair, what happened to the Hippocratic oath, etc. I had not encountered the benefits system before and could not believe how badly they are treating sick people.) Also, my background before retirement included preparing complex technical reports and presenting them to sometimes unfriendly audiences. And much depends on who you get on the day - tribunal procedures vary.

At the outset, I also discussed the approach with the local CAB. If you are thinking of doing it yourself, I think its a good idea to do that and get their advice.

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Re:Who exactly can be a representative? 8 years 4 months ago #17774

I'm not a professional, expert or anything else, but I've been to a few tribunals, and if I may, would like to add my twopennyworth.

It's been my experience, as stated already, that the tribunal require the claimant to be present to clarify the details etc. The representative is more of an informed handholder. By that I mean they can fill in a few details, and remind the claimant about things they may have overlooked etc, better still if they've had experience of tribunals, or at least, having read the info on this site etc, have a good idea of what's needed.

It is very true that bad representation is worse than non at all. I have a friend who wanted to claim DLA and sought advice from a national disabled person's organisation. They came and filled in the form for him, but it was horrendous. They exaggerated everything he said to the nth degree saying it had to be as on the worst possible day. In the end it bore little resemblance to his acutal needs, but he went along with it because they were the experts.

Needless to say he was turned down and went on to appeal. The person who did the form wasn't available,so someone else from the rganisation 'represented' him. You could tell from the outset that the guy's heart wasn't in it, he didn't want to be there, and the actual appeal was an embarrassing nightmare. The bloke was worse than useless and got the few facts he put forward wrong. Naturally my friend lost the appeal as well and all heart for going on with any claim at all.

He couldn't justify what was on the form, and his genuine problems, that should have earned him an award, were buried under the rubbish. It was clear to me, and hardly surprising, that the tribunal had little faith in the veracity of anyting he said.

If you can find someone who your wife is happy with, who doesn't over egg the cake then all well and good. If not, you may want to go along as her helper rather than the grand sounding representative.

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