Tribunals Service – jurisdiction or not?

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  • #43546
    Anonymous
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    I have a case where the Tribunals Service have decided they have jurisdiction, but I am not not sure. Can I ask for a statement of reasons or at least an explanation of their decision before submitting a full appeal? Helpfully all they have stated is that they do have jurisdiction.

    The Situation is that we have declined to disregard a property owned abroad, that is up for sale, for longer than the statutory 26 weeks. We do not believe it is reasonable to do so. The claimant appealed and I submitted to the Tribunals Service that the decision was outside of their jurisdiction as we were exercising our judgment and therefore any challenge should be by way of judicial review.

    Can anyone offer some advice?

    #123580
    Anonymous
    Guest

    I would say this is definitely in jurisdiction. The Tribunal is stepping into your shoes and is able to make any decision that you could have made, including a decision that the disregard period should be extended.

    The confusion about discretion and appeal rights stems from decisions involving overpayments where there is a right of appeal against the “could” but not the “should”. The HB decision is that an overpayment is recoverable from a person or persons, and there is a right of appeal against that; but once it has been established that the overpayment is recoverable from a person or persons, the creditor action taken to pursue the debt (including the discretionary choice to recover as opposed to write off, or the discretionary choice to focus recovery action on one person where the o/p is recoverable from two) is outside the HB decision making framework.

    A decision about the length of time capital should be disregarded for is clearly part of the HB awarding decision and subject to appeal.

    #123590
    Anonymous
    Guest

    As a general point Interlocutory Decisions are not excluded decisions under section 11(5) of the TCE Act – see LS V Lambeth and although that only covered permission to appeal it seems it applies to others. As it is an Interlocutory Decision no statement of reasons are required to seek permission to appeal because they are only needed for decisions that dispose of the proceedings, rule 34(1) and 38(2) of the FtT Rules.

    As no statement of reasons are required then it would seem that there is no time limit for applying for permission to appeal.

    HTH
    Henrik

    #123591
    Anonymous
    Guest

    The decision in that Lambeth case could produce some bizarre outcomes. It made sense in that case to allow a right of appeal against an interlocutory decision that would otherwise have brought the proceedings to an end – in plain English if the Tribunal declines to hear an appeal because it’s late etc, the appellant can challenge that by way of an appeal to the UT instead of the cumbersome and costly JR route.

    But to appeal against an interlocutory decision in live proceedings seems mad to me. The best way to challenge it is for the Council to submit the appeal in the normal way but as part of its submission register a query over jurisdiction which will put down a marker for a possible UT appeal later on: grounds for appeal against the decision would include the ground that the FtT had no jurisdiction to hear the case.

    In this particular case, however, I think the subject matter is in jurisdiction. You cannot say to a claimant “We have decided you have capital in excess of the limit, you don’t qualify for HB, this is entirely at our discretion and you cannot appeal”

    #123592
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Thanks for the comments so far.

    In this case it is not that there is any dispute or disagreement over the value of the property held abroad, just whether it is reasonable to disregard for longer than the statutory 26 weeks. My understanding was that the question of reasonableness is up to a local authority to decide in each case and that any challenge to that would need to be via JR.

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