Personal Independence Payment: Appeals

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 16th July 2018.

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Photo of John Mann John Mann Chair, Treasury Sub-Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what recent steps he is taking to reduce waiting times for personal independence payment tribunals.

Photo of John Mann John Mann Chair, Treasury Sub-Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment his Department has made of the effects of waiting times for PIP tribunals on vulnerable people.

Photo of Lucy Frazer Lucy Frazer The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

Latest figures indicate that since Personal Independent Payment was introduced, more than 3.1 million decisions have been made, and of these 4% have been overturned.

In order to respond to a general increase in appeal receipts, HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) has been working with the Tribunal’s judiciary both to appoint additional judges and panel members, and to take forward initiatives with the potential to increase the capacity and performance of the Tribunal. We have recruited extra fee-paid judicial office holders: 250 judges across the First-tier Tribunal, 125 disability-qualified members, and up to 230 medical members. We are also developing a new digital system which enables speedier processing of appeals and a better service for all parties to the proceedings. In addition, we are reviewing with the Judiciary, current listing practices to increase the number of cases listed on a Tribunal session, and introducing case-management “triage” sessions, with the aim of reducing the time taken for appeals to reach final determination. All these measures will increase the capacity of the Tribunal, with the aim of reducing waiting times for appellants.

HMCTS is very sensitive to the needs of people with a wide range of physical and mental challenges, including waiting times for Tribunal hearings. Tribunal staff, and judicial office holders, are trained accordingly, with the HMCTS reasonable adjustments policy and practice applied where appropriate. Guidance on the HMCTS reasonable adjustments policy is published on GOV.UK.

If an expedited hearing is sought, or if the Tribunal identifies a case which may benefit from an expedited hearing, a judge (or caseworker acting under delegated powers and then within 14 days subject to an automatic right to be placed before a judge) will make a case management decision on the issue taking into account all the circumstances known about the case. Such decisions may be revised on application and are subject to appeal if an error of law is made.

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