Armed Forces: Pensions

House of Lords written question – answered on 16th July 2008.

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Photo of Lord Roberts of Conwy Lord Roberts of Conwy Conservative

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What notice was given of the meeting held on 20 June by the senior president of tribunals with representatives of some ex-service organisations to discuss the future of the Pensions Appeal Tribunal; what written advice was given to Ministers as a result of the meeting; and what is the constitutional position of a senior judge taking such a step, having regard especially to the letters about the meeting sent to Sir Robert Carnwath by the Royal British Legion and to Lord Morris of Manchester by the National Gulf Veterans and Families Association.

Photo of Lord Hunt of Kings Heath Lord Hunt of Kings Heath Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Ministry of Justice, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

Following concerns raised by ex-servicemen's organisations with the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice, Bridget Prentice MP, that they had not been consulted appropriately in relation to the proposed move of the Pensions Appeal Tribunal to a new, unified tribunal structure, the Minister suggested that it would be useful for them to discuss the move with the senior president of tribunals, Lord Justice Carnwath.

Lord Justice Carnwath agreed to the meeting, and a number of veterans' organisations were subsequently contacted on 12 June by his office and invited to attend a meeting on 20 June. Representatives from the Royal British Legion; National Gulf Veterans and Families Association; War Widows' Association of Great Britain; British Limbless Ex-Servicemen's Association; British Nuclear Test Veterans Association; St Dunstan's; and the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association attended the meeting.

No formal written advice was offered to the Minister following the meeting, although some limited feedback was provided to her private office.

The senior president's role was entirely consistent with his constitutional position and his statutory functions under the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007.

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