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Senior Judge says DWP evidence to tribunals so poor it would be wholly inadmissible in any other court

20 November 2017

Sir Ernest Ryder, Senior President of Tribunals has said the quality of evidence provided by the Department for Work and Pensions is so poor it would be “wholly inadmissible” in any other court.

He added that most of the benefits cases that reach court are based on bad decisions where the Department for Work and Pensions has no case at all.

Speaking at a recent Bar Council event, Ryder said his judges found that 60% of cases were “no-brainers” where there was nothing in the law or facts that would make the DWP win.

Such is the incompetence of the department, the Senior President said that he and his fellow judges were so incensed that they were considering sending them back - or charging the DWP for the cases it loses.

He said: “It's an inappropriate use of judicial resources, it's an inappropriate experience for the users, and the cost is simply not right.”

The percentage of cases lost by the DWP on appeal has been growing rapidly. In 2007, 44% of cases heard in the Social Security and Child Support tribunal went against the DWP. Ryder said the figures have now risen to a “staggering” 61%.

When appealing a decision on benefits you first have to go through mandatory reconsideration where you ask the department to look again at your case. Only then can you take it to tribunal and appeal it.

Ryder said this process was not preventing the DWP from taking huge numbers of cases through court that shouldn’t be there:

“In case management, I could send back those cases to the DWP and say, 'You might as well remake them, because there is no argument that a tribunal could hear. There's no justiciable defence to the appeal. Why don't I? That's the argument we're thinking about long and hard, because the appellant doesn't lose anything.”

For more information see - https://www.buzzfeed.com/emilydugan/most-dwp-benefits-cases-which-reach-court-are-based-on-bad?utm_term=.wuwPPeBNz#.kbovvWGOz