If question not asked is o/p official error

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    I am dealing with a case where the claimant transferred ownership of a property to his son in 2003 and has now put in a claim for HB at the same address. I am refusing the claim but unfortunately we did pay HB for a few months in the Summer of 2005. This claim was based on a HCTB1 that does not ask whether you used to own the property.

    I have a feeling the Commissioners have addressed the question about whether overpaid HB caused by the council not asking the relevant question is an official error or not. Does anyone know of such a decision and did the commissioners decide whether or not it was official error.

    P.S Does anyone know of any spare Champions League Final tickets?


    The present state of authority does not give a definitve answer and might never will. It all depends on the circumstances as they say.

    In R v Islington LBC HBRB ex p de Grey 11 Feb 1992 QBD it was held that the LA’s failure to ask questions designed to elicit information about where the normal home was did not amoujnt to an official error.

    It was held in CH/3679/2002 that the LA’s failure to change their forms to take into account changes in what was then Reg 7 (liability to ex partner) did amount to an official error.

    In CH/1780/2005 it was held that the LA’s failure to make sufficient enquiries as the pattern of the claimants earnings was an official error

    Stephen Murray

    No definitive answer as previously said, but CH 4075/03 might also help you reach a decision.
    In this case a claimant failed to declare a student loan, as there was no specific box on the claim form. However the resulting O/P was judged to be caused by an official error as the LA were aware that the claimant’s partner was a student. The LA were still seeking recovery, as the claimant should have been aware that he was being overpaid. However, the Commissioner concluded, “…It seems reasonable for people to regard loans as not constituting income (even though the regulations in this case provide otherwise)…”
    Realistically would your claimant have thought that being a previous owner of the property was still relevant to their current circumstances at the time they completed the application?

    Kevin D

    OK, important matters first. Sorry, can’t help with Champions League tix. 🙁

    Now, work….

    In addition to the CDs quoted by Stainsby and Stephen Murray, it may be worth looking at [b:b4d9f26eaf]CH/2098/2005[/b:b4d9f26eaf]. The clmt was deaf and contented that there should have been a notice on the claim form specifically referring deaf ppl to where assistance could be obtained. The Comm was less than impressed and made a GENERAL point that it wasn’t possible for every eventuality to be catered for on a claim form.

    However, in the circumstances you mention, I can see arguments both ways. I think the crux is how fundamental is the question to determining the claim (by comparison with other questions that are asked or not asked)?

    Hope this helps.

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