Clause 5 - Amendments to Pensions Appeal Tribunals Act 1943

Part of Armed Forces – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:15 am on 24th February 2004.

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Photo of David Lammy David Lammy Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Constitutional Affairs) 9:15 am, 24th February 2004

In an oral hearing before a tribunal or in a written application, the applicant relies on the community legal service for assistance in preparing the case, and we heard about the wonderful role played by the British Legion in that respect. I emphasise that we are talking about a few cases that are appealed upwards. Legal help is available for those who need it, but in essence tribunals are intended to operate without legal counsel.

I should also say that in establishing the new arrangements, we expect the social security commissioners to be sitting specifically as pensions appeal commissioners, as is appropriate. They have expertise, as seven of the social security commissioners have experience of the pensions appeal tribunal and the important and special matters that the hon. Member for Aldershot was keen to illustrate. However, the Government are sympathetic to the thrust of the amendment.