Attendance at tribunal hearings

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    Hi all,
    I have been asked asked to consider whether it is necessary to send a PO to every appeal hearing.
    I can find nothing in the FtT Procedure Rules that says an authority must send a PO.



    If you want to foster a positive working relationship with the regular TS judges at tribunal venues then I would say it’s vital for a PO to attend every case.

    We always send a PO no matter what the case and this has been met with praise from judges (and chairs previously). Conversely, DWP who at one time did not regularly send a PO came in for some criticism.

    Luckily our tribunal venue is based in the city so we haven’t got any issues with travelling there and back. You may take a different view if you are based miles away from the venue.

    We are currently finding though that unless the appellant is asking for an oral hearing, regardless of our stating a PO will attend on the AT37, hearings are going ahead on the papers. We’ve not experienced any problems with this as all the cases have gone in our favour.


    We hardly ever attend (the venue is a considerable distance away and we don’t have a dedicated appeals officer anyway). We still have our decision confirmed in about 80% of cases, but the chair normally has a swipe at their being no presenting officer in decisions or SORs.


    We attend all hearings and request oral hearings for all appeals.

    John Boxall

    We attend all hearings, but dont request oral hearings.

    I think that it’s plain politeness to the claimant and shows respect to The Tribunal to go.

    Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery. The blossom is blighted, the leaf is withered, the god of day goes down upon the dreary scene, and—and in short you are for ever floored.

    Wilkins Micawber, Ch12 David Copperfield


    John’s approach seems to be the most common from what I see and hear from appeals officers at various councils. The Council does not ask for an oral hearing, but does send a PO if only out of courtesy in the event that an oral hearing takes place, unless the case is particularly trivial or obviously open-and-shut


    Thanks all for your replies – broadly in line with my own personal view that it is important from the appellant’s point of view to be able to face the authority in person, it shows respect for the seriousness of the hearing process and enables Judges to ask us questions to get to the right answer.

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