Have you recently had an appeal with the First-tier tribunal regarding a benefit claim?
Were you expecting a different outcome and you disagree with the court hearing results?
Read on to find what your options are.
What is a court hearing?
A court hearing is an official meeting held in court, usually shorter and often less formal than a trial.
The aim of a court hearing is to hear the arguments of both parts, to analyze the evidence and take a just decision regarding the case.
A court hearing decision can be appealed to the Upper Tribunal if the claimant disagrees with the results.
Disagreeing with the Court hearing results
If you disagree with the court hearing result, there is the option to appeal to a higher level of the tribunal, called the Upper Tribunal.
The only case you can do this, however, is when you think your tribunal made a mistake in law.
Below are some examples of errors in law:
- The First-tier tribunal did not respect the legislation.
- If the date of the hearing did not suit you and you had a good reason for that (such as a bereavement) and the tribunal refused to postpone the hearing date.
- The hearing panel tried to negotiate with you on dropping one or more of the issues that led to the appeal in the first place.
- You asked for a translator or interpreter, and there was none.
- The evidence supporting the panel’s decision is inconclusive or missing.
- You asked for an oral hearing in the appealing form, but you received the decision without even attending the hearing.
- You did not receive the notice for your hearing in time or at all, and it is not your fault.
- You were not allowed to have a representative in the room with you.
- A member of the DWP was present at the hearing and when the decision was taken and you were not.
- If you opted for a paper hearing and the outcome is less favorable than the first decision from the DWP and you were not aware this can happen.
Further appeal to the Upper Tribunal
How to start your appeal
If the First-tier Tribunal made an error in law, you can submit a request for an appeal at the Upper Tribunal.
For this, you first need a permission for appeal from the First-tier Tribunal, and they can say no.
If this is the case, you have to go directly to the Upper Tribunal with another request.
As always, there is a timeline you have to respect, you have to start the appeal within one month of the decision you are arguing against.
What happens next?
What happens next is that your case is registered in the Upper Tribunal’s database.
You will receive a letter in the post containing your personal case reference number.
This number is especially useful in linking all the evidence and information there is about your case.
Next, a request is made for your file to get transferred to the Upper Tribunal and that it is assigned to a Judge.
This process may take up to a month, making the wait harder on the claimant.
The Judge is the person who looks at your file, more exactly, at how your First-tier hearing went.
The Judge then will decide whether there was or not a mistake made. You will receive a letter as soon as the Judge has decided, informing you of the outcome and what you should do next.
You must read that letter carefully. Ask for professional advice if you find it hard to understand.
Will any other parties be involved in the case?
Generally, there are no third parties involved in making a decision regarding an Upper Tribunal appeal.
However, in some cases such as the DWP appeal a First-tier tribunal decision in which the claimant was successful, other parties may become involved.
For example, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs or the Independent Safeguarding Authority may get involved in a case, again, depending on the type of decision an individual is appealing against.
The claimant’s appearance may be required as well.
How long will the appeal take?
An appeal to the Upper Tribunal can take long. First, it takes about 10 weeks (almost three months) for the UP to deal with the applications for appeal where the First-tier tribunal has rejected the request.
Second, it takes on average 20 weeks (four and a half months) for the UP to make a decision on the appeals that the First-tier did granted permission.
Although the Upper Tribunal appeals are usually decided by a Judge behind closed doors, sometimes the Judge may decide that there should be an oral hearing.
This means that there should be a courtroom and a date when all parts can attend the hearing. This could cause serious delays.
Furthermore, if the claimants have missed the deadlines, the processes can take even longer than the average waiting time of 15 weeks.
When will the judge hear the case?
The Upper Tribunal will hear the case as soon as your application was processed and assigned to a Judge.
The average waiting time for this is 15 weeks, depending whether the First-tier tribunal granted or rejected a permission for appeal.
If there is no need for an oral hearing, a decision will be made as soon as possible and you will be informed through a decision letter.
If a claimant wishes so, they can request an oral hearing, but most of the Upper Tribunal appeals are treated as paper hearings, unless the Judge decides otherwise.
Oral hearings are open to the public and in the UK they take place in London, Manchester, Cardiff or Leeds. It may be a good idea to attend such a hearing before going to your own, just to get an idea on what to expect.
If the claimant has to travel to attend the oral hearing, they may be able to claim travel expenses. Sometimes, oral hearings are held online.
How do you get a decision?
As soon as the Upper Tribunal Judge makes a decision, it is sent to all parties involved in the case.
You will find the decision sooner or later than de DWP, as it is sent at the same time and in writing only.
The original signed paper with the decision remains in the Upper Tribunal file.
The parties can only receive a copy of the decision letter.
Once you receive the letter, the Upper Tribunal has no other involvement in the case.
They are not obliged to follow up and make sure that the decision is implemented.
As a piece of advice, once you receive your copy, you should ring the DWP and ask if they have received their copy too, this could speed up the process if you have to receive back pay.
If the UT decided that your case should be reviewed by the First-tier Tribunal again, you should cooperate with them instead.
In this article, we found what a person’s options are when they disagree with the court hearing results.
We discuss what’s the procedure of appealing further to the Upper Tribunal, who can appeal and how do you get a decision.
If you think an injustice was done regarding your case and you want to appeal to the UP, you should prepare yourself for a long wait.
It might take between 10 to 20 weeks to receive the Judge’s decision.
Make sure you fit the eligibility for an appeal, as there are protocols to follow, and one cannot appeal simply because they are upset with the First-Tier Tribunal decision.
Please let us know what you think and leave any questions you might have in the comments section below.
Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.
FAQ about Court hearing results
How do I find details of a court case?
You can find details of a court case by using the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) or by visiting the Clerk’s Office of the courthouse where the case was filed.
Are UK court cases public record?
Hearings at the Crown Court and at civil and family courts are always recorded.
You can find details of a court case by using the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER).
Can anyone watch a court case in the UK?
Most court cases in the UK are open to the public, so you’ll be allowed to watch for free while the public gallery is open.
What does a court case number mean?
A court case number is used to identify the year the case was filed, the office in which it was filed, and the judicial officer(s) to whom it is assigned.
How long are county court records kept the UK?
Most Crown Court hearings are recorded in full, but Ministry of Justice guidelines say these recordings should be deleted after five years for tape-recordings and after seven years for digital recordings.
What is the judge’s decision called?
The judge’s decision is called a judgment.
Judgments generally provides the court’s explanation of why it has chosen to make a particular court order.
- How to Process a Legal Appeal Successfully
- Claim Denied!: How to Appeal a VA Denial of Benefits
- Nolo’s Guide to Social Security Disability: Getting & Keeping Your Benefits
- Insider’s Guide to Government Benefits
- Guide to Government Benefits: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Unemployment Insurance, Disability
- Appeal to the Upper Tribunal – Gov.uk
- Role of the jury – Citizens Information
- Going to a small claims hearing – Citizens Advice