Test case referrals
CPAG takes on a small number of test cases each year in line with our test case strategy. We focus on cases that have the potential to improve the lives of families with children in poverty. This includes judicial review claims, appeals in the First-tier Tribunal, Upper Tribunal, Court of Appeal, Supreme Court and the European Courts. See details of our current test cases.
If you are an adviser and you would like to refer a potential test case to CPAG please complete our test case referral form (save it to your computer first)
Two child rule
Do you have any clients who will be affected by the recent legislative changes to Child Tax Credit and Universal Credit due to come into effect 6 April 2017?
The Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016 introduced fundamental changes to Child Tax Credit and Universal Credit, limiting child tax credit and universal credit to the first two children in a household. These changes, commonly known as the 2 child rule, will come into force from 6 April 2017 together with certain exceptions and transitional arrangements set out in recently published regulations.
CPAG is looking into the possible routes of legal challenge to the 2 child rule and would like your help in locating potential claimants who would be affected by this rule and who would be willing to be part of a CPAG legal challenge.
CPAG is looking in general for:
- Any family already claiming benefits with two children and looking to have more in the near future
But also the following particular types of households which may be unfairly affected by the rule (though this is not an exhaustive list of examples):
- Two lone parent household units already with two children each considering forming a single ‘blended family’ arrangement because the adults have become a couple;
- An individual or couple caring for one or two ‘kinship’ children but contemplating having children of their own;
- A family which, when the children were born, did not require state support but now has a need to because of an unexpected change in circumstances (e.g. loss of a job); and
- A parent who is religiously or philosophically opposed to birth control.
If you can help, please complete the test case referral form.
What other sorts of cases do we take on?
CPAG’s solicitor can take on a limited number of appeals in the First-tier or Upper Tribunal, provided they have the potential to benefit families with children in poverty.
Judicial review advice
CPAG has a contract with the Legal Aid Agency to advise a certain number of clients, primarily based in London each year in relation to actual or potential judicial review proceedings.
CPAG is particularly keen to focus on the following issues:
1. Benefit delays
We may be able to help where claimants are suffering unreasonable delays in receiving a decision on their claim. These include:
- Child benefit delays;
- Personal Independence Payment delays;
- Delays caused by mandatory reconsideration;
- Delays suffered by refugees and European migrants;
- Refusals of short-term benefit advances.
2. Local welfare provision
Refusals of support from local authority welfare schemes (the replacement to the discretionary social fund) do not carry a right of appeal and may need to be challenged by judicial review. Decisions or policies that may be challengeable include:
- Unreasonable decisions or policies;
- Direct or indirect discrimination;
- Minimum local residency rules;
- Restrictions on methods of claiming;
- Overly strict application of eligibility criteria/ failure to properly exercise discretion.
3. Inappropriate work-related activity
CPAG’s solicitor may be able to help ESA claimants who have been required to take part in work-related activity or work-focused interviews that are inappropriate for their medical condition. This is particularly where ESA claimants in the work-related activity group are directed to undertake activities which the DWP or Tribunal has already decided they cannot do as part of their claim.
4. Judicial review in the Upper Tribunal
Some decisions of the First-tier Tribunal can only be challenged by judicial review, rather than on appeal. Where this arises, CPAG’s solicitor may be able to help.
5. Mandatory reconsideration
HMRC/DWP say there is no right of appeal against a refusal to accept a late mandatory reconsideration request. As a result, many claimants with good reason for lateness are prevented from accessing an independent Tribunal, often leading to manifestly unfair ‘overpayments’ and debts. CPAG is looking for cases to challenge this under Article 6 (fair trial) of the European Convention on Human Rights. We are keen to hear from advisers or clients who have been refused a mandatory reconsideration by the DWP or HMRC without a right of appeal because their request was late.
CPAG intervenes in existing cases where we believe our evidence and expertise will assist the Tribunal or Court and further our charitable aims. If you are involved in proceedings that you think would benefit from CPAG’s intervention, please complete our test case referral form (save it to your computer first).
Please note that we are only able to take on cases for clients living outside of London in exceptional circumstances.
Regrettably we cannot take referrals of test cases from Scotland. The reason for this is that CPAG’s only solicitor is based in London and we cannot apply for legal aid in Scotland or instruct counsel there.