The Upper Tribunal bedroom tax lead case CH/153/2014 here

Anyone paying close attention to the bedroom tax appeal issues will know by now that the Secretary of State at the DWP has been granted permission to appeal case CH/153/2014 at the Upper Tribunal.  Additionally the Upper Tribunal has determined that all room size and room usage appeals are to be ‘stayed’ until after this ‘lead case’ has been heard and also stayed until after the almost inevitable Court of Appeal hearing that will follow.

I sent a copy of this UT Direction to the Nearly Legal site which was acknowledged who stated in a brief blog post about this :

Secondly, (and thanks Joe) I have been sent a copy of a letter staying an appeal to the Upper Tribunal, which states that all appeals on the issue of room size and use are stayed pending determination of a ‘lead case’ and any further appeal in that case. This is case CH/153/2014.

Does anyone know this case and whether it is one of the FTT decisions we already know about? I am presuming that the claimant is represented and that this is one reason the case has been chosen. If they aren’t, they need to be, right away!

I am presuming that the claimant is represented and that this is one reason the case has been chosen. If they aren’t, they need to be, right away!

Giles at Nearly Legal is not known for his wanton use of the exclamation mark and I couldn’t agree more that the appellant needs the best representation.

Late yesterday I saw some documented proof on Facebook which said this lead case is a failed FTT case and one which has been given permission to be appealed by the Upper Tribunal.

ch1532014ref

As I have written UT appeal submissions for failed FtT cases that have been given permission to appeal, some of which were not for cases I took. that made me scour my files even though I couldn’t remember a joint room size / usage case that had failed at FtT.

I did find a submission I drafted 28 December 2013 on room size and a few other procedural matters together with a determination notice from the Upper Tribunal from 8 April granting permission to appeal with the UT reference number CH153/2014, the lead case that has taken on a new importance.  The tenant came to me to write the appeal at the last minute and hence reading it back it is not the most cogently articulated appeal although I never saw sight of the original submission yet it served the purpose of having permission granted.

At that time the significance of this reference number was of no consequence.  I do not have full bundle of papers of this case or the statement of reasons but I know who does and who the representatives are for the tenant. There was a parting of ways which is of no consequence nor will I air it here.  The representatives know what they are doing regarding bedroom tax arguments and will have sought and received legal representation and I would be amazed if they had not.

I will however reveal some facts of this case.

  • This is a very early case and pre dates the Fife cases by a few days and does not contain room usage arguments at all which surprises me as the stay from this lead case applies to all room size and / or room usage cases according to the UT Direction Notice.
  •  This lead case has the disputed room measuring less than 50 square feet.
  •  The case was submitted as a paper based appeal and did not have an oral hearing
  • I never saw sight of the original paper based submission though I am fairly certain that the room size argument was based on the 1985 Housing Act alone or at least primarily on the overcrowding provisions therein and not other room size arguments

The case was drafted and submitted by a largish firm of solicitors (60 or so staff) who have been around for over 60 years. The background to which is a relative of the appellant worked for the law firm and one of the partners (I was told) drafted the original FTT case and I can understand why the appellant chose this option. However, why a partner in a law firm would submit a paper based appeal when oral hearings have a far higher success rate (60% or so) surprised me greatly then and still does.

The solicitor then did not take on the appeal for reasons unknown and I was asked to draft the appeal at very short notice by the tenant which I did and dated 28 December 2013 and I found this late today on my laptop along with a copy of the UT permission in a letter dated 8 April 2014 which detailed permission being granted on 24 March 2014 with the Reasons stating:

The “room size” point merits further consideration. (Permission to appeal is not, however, limited to this ground alone.)

It then states some Case Management Directions to the Secretary of State having a month to intervene and mentions the Fife cases being appealed. The FtT judge in the Fife cases Simon Collins QC gave permission on 17 December 2013 for those cases – two of the 5 heard that day of which 4 won.

I presume the DWP here are seeking to rule the 1985 Housing Act does not read across and in the Fife cases that the 1987 Housing (Scotland) Act doesn’t either. So why these two Acts are the same the DWP is seeking to cross the ‘t’s an dot the ‘i’s with both Acts and the reader may wish to cure their insomnia by looking at in pari materia and cross contextual construction of an ordinary English word too.

I no longer have contact with the appellant’s representative nor do I know whether they have secured legal representation for this lead case.  I hope they have as this case is hugely important to all appellants successful at FtT and those who lost at FtT and have been granted permission to appeal, as well as the tenant involved here all deserve the best possible legal representation.

The representatives must have been informed a few months back that this was to be a ‘lead case’ as the UT Directions Notice to stay all other cases on CH/153/2014 was dated 18 June 2014.

I imagine that the silence on this issue which has caused the understandable consternation – especially as word always gets out – for what must be two months or more is due to the insistence of legal representation gained, which I can fully understand and appreciate.

The purpose of the above is to stop the speculation which is rife across social media and note my comments above why I suggest a media silence has happened which I assume – and I would agree with and to if I was involved in this case – is because the legal representation for the lead case has requested it.

Copy of the UT letter

CH1532014

 

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14 thoughts on “The Upper Tribunal bedroom tax lead case CH/153/2014 here

    1. Was thrown by everyone saying it was room size and room usage (and UT direction that such cases stayed) as this lead case has absolutely bugger all to do with room usage

  1. At our FTT last Thursday – the judge admitted that my husband’s bedroom was ‘on the small side’ (56.68sq ft – he cannot share with me due to a through floor lift) ….but, our income means we can ‘afford’ the 14% reduction and I can pay the bedroom tax out of my Disability Living Allowance – Care Component …She said the word ‘living’ meant rent and bills ! !The judge said that it was ‘irrelevant’ that we didn’t have a spare bedroom – we are ‘under occupying’ (I think she meant by a ‘head count’ rather than a spare room). We have applied for the SOR – don’t know how long that takes to arrive.

  2. Seems to me that the long argued 2 kids to a room up to 10 if dif sexes and 16 if same and 1 if over 16 of either sex and one/two adults to a room, criteria after all is being used over and above BT or room uses as it was always supposed to be, after all this forms the Housing acts 2010 and later 2011 issues, which correct me if I’m wrong is the statutory act for social housing BT and allocations rulings In any case.
    It seems that had they ALL of stuck to this or another stat ruling it would at least have been far easier to workout where a anon asking for advise and guidance was going wrong as it currently still today stands we are fighting differing rulings in different areas of the country, different interpretations of said rulings up and down the country, the actual truth on the matter, and various other spurious supposed legistatory stats, which in my book leads to around Circa – 20 odd variations of what could or couldnt be th factual truth on this matter.
    Deliberately set to fail from day one !!! and this we are supposed to be using to assist us in determining who governs us come next year in the Gen Elections with the current Laurel and Hardy operatives making a hash of everything they touch, or of course Laboyr the only real contenders (let’s hope anyway) who couldn’t argue it’s way out of an opposition explanation as they don’t appear to know what the word means themselves who could with a little effort have negated a great deal of the effects of all this by simply doing their jobs.
    I still say vote none of the above, and maintain this has been worked out so as to deliberately cause as much mayhem, as much disruption to payments, worry over housing and so on and so forth, all at a time where Scotland could go it’s own way? deliberately to get Scots voters to vote Yes who knows.
    What I do know for sure is the daily bag of distressed users and really worried Benefit claimants is NOT slowing down, neither is the open condemnation of the Big Three parties and lastly the dire situation normal folks are finding themselves in.
    What we all need is straight clear concise answers nothing more nothing less ………

  3. I’m paying this wretched tax have a 4 bed property with 2 tiny box rooms…I’m disabled and can’t move..Anyway last month I applied for DHP and it’s been awarded for 12 weeks! Can you believe that 12 weeks, utter madness.

  4. My BT Appeal (in Leeds, West Yorkshire) has been stayed. The appeal reasons ‘evolved’ over time as new Appeal decisions came to light.

    Room size played a small part in the reasons for the appeal. However, the Appeal concentrates on room usage, as this seemed to be the most liely ‘winnable’ argument.

  5. hi Debbie, I really want to appeal but am not well, and can’t manage the whole court thing, does anyone know if it has to go to court or is it the council that deal with it?..

    I certainly will be applying for DHP, I’m not paying this anymore…had enough…

    1. I don’t know your case, what grounds is was one, whether won or lost, all that is clear is that DWP has stayed scores of winning FTT cases on size and/or usage until the lead cases hears and note any Court of Appeal subsequent hearing and stayed a few more on discrimination grounds

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