Test Cases

  • Two child limit challenge

    Last updated: December 14, 2018

    The substantive challenge to the two child policy is now being appealed to the Court of Appeal.  The hearing will take place on 19 and 20 December 2018.

    On 18 August 2017, CPAG issued a claim for judicial review in the High Court against the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (SSWP) to challenge the two child limit, introduced by the Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016. Permission was granted on 17 October 2017 and the case was heard across two days on 6 and 7 February 2018.  Judgment was given on 20 April 2018 allowing the challenge in part.  The Court accepted CPAG's arguments that the ordering restriction on the kinship care exception was perverse and therefore unlawful.  The wider challenge to the policy as a whole was dismissed.  CPAG is appealing this aspect of the case to the Court of Appeal. Meanwhile, in November 2018, the DWP/HMRC brought in amending legislation to remove the ordering restriction from both the kinship care and adopted children exceptions . Read the judgment and our statement about the judgment.

  • Universal credit assessment period inflexibility

    Last updated: December 12, 2018

    R (Woods, Barrett and Stewart) v SSWP CO/1552/2018

    Permission to apply for judicial review was granted on 5 July 2018 and the claim has been joined with a similar case being brought by Leigh Day solicitors.  The hearing of both claims took place on 27 to 28 November 2018 in the High Court and judgment is currently awaited.

    On 29 March 2018, CPAG filed a claim for permission to apply for judicial review to challenge the rigidity of the assessment period regime in universal credit which results in some people being treated as receiving two monthly wages in one assessment period, in turn affecting the amount of their UC award.

  • Past presence test and aggregation rules

    Last updated: December 4, 2018

     Kavanagh v Secretary of State and Pensions CDLA/373/2016, 2016 [UKUT] 0547 (AAC)

    This appeal concerns the application of the ‘past presence’ test that requires disability benefit claimants to be resident in Great Britain for 104 weeks out of the 156 weeks prior to the claim. However, for claimants to whom an EU regulation applies, the past presence test is disapplied if they can establish a genuine and sufficient link to the UK social security system. Alternatively, they can seek to satisfy the 2 year rule by aggregating qualifying periods spent in another EU country under Article 6 of EU Regulation 883/2004. EU Regulation 883/2004 coordinates social security systems in the EU and Article 6 provides that certain periods of time spent in one member state can be aggregated when considering presence tests in another.

  • Revised Benefit Cap

    Last updated: October 17, 2018

    R (DS and Others) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

    CPAG is acting on behalf of two single mothers who are affected by the cap due to their caring responsibilities. One of the claimants has children with significant health needs while the other has previously fled domestic violence.

    The appeal in this case was heard on 17-19 July 2018 by a 7 judge panel of the Supreme Court alongside that of R(DA and Others) v SSWP.  We are waiting for the judgment.

    Our advice to claimants affected by the lower benefit cap is to lodge a housing benefit appeal immediately requesting for it to be stayed behind the Supreme Court decision. You can use our template letter.


  • Widowed parents’ allowance and non-married couples

    Last updated: September 7, 2018

    Update: On 30 August, the Supreme Court handed down its judgment that denying bereavement benefits to unmarried, cohabiting partners with children is incompatible with human rights law. 

    Read more about what this means for parents now

  • Universal Credit, disability and transitional protection

    Last updated: July 3, 2018

    R (TD, AD and IM) v SSWP CO/590/2018

    This case is continuing notwithstanding the Ministerial statement and subsequent draft regulations claiming to provide transitional protection to those disabled people who have moved onto UC ahead of the managed migration process and, as a consequence, lost out on the SDP.  The draft regulations do not in fact provide for a disabled adult previously in receipt of SDP to receive an equivalent top up amount in UC if they are in receipt of the LCWRA element and do not address at all the situation of disabled children.

    The case has been listed for hearing on 23 Jan 2019.

    On 8 February 2018, CPAG issued a claim for permission to apply for judicial review on behalf of two households, each with a person with a disability, challenging the lack of transitional protection or, alternatively, the inability to return to legacy benefits once an award for universal credit has been made in circumstances where the DWP makes a decision terminating an individual’s award of a legacy benefit, which is subsequently shown to have been a wrong decision and is overturned, and the individual is financially worse off under UC.

  • Bedroom tax where a room is too small to share

    Last updated: January 11, 2018

    Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council v Hockley & SSWP 2017 [UKUT] 471 (AAC)

    This case concerns the removal of the spare room subsidy, widely referred to as the ‘bedroom tax’, in cases where a bedroom is too small for two children to share. The bedroom tax came into force on 1 April 2013 and made amendments to the Housing Benefit Regulations 2006 placing restrictions on the amount of housing benefit that can be claimed by tenants in the social sector. Where the number of bedrooms in the household exceeds the number of bedrooms the claimant is entitled to in accordance with the regulations, the housing benefit is reduced by 14% for one ‘spare’ bedroom or 25% for two or more ‘spare’ bedrooms. Regulation B13(5) prescribes who is entitled to a bedroom in a household. It prescribes that two children, regardless of their sex, who are less than 10 years old and two children, regardless of their age, of the same sex are able to share a bedroom.

  • Right to reside for the self-employed

    Last updated: June 22, 2017

    MH v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions C3/2015/2886

    The issue raised by this case in the Court of Appeal is whether the UK’s Immigration (EEA) Regulations 2006 must be read pursuant to EU law as providing a right to reside in the UK not only to EEA children in education whose parents have been employed persons, but also to those whose parents have been ­self-employed persons.  Regretfully the Court of Appeal has decided that there is no such requirement.

  • Child tax credit and disability element

    Last updated: June 16, 2017

    Following a data match with DWP, HMRC discovered that 28 000 families, subsequently revised to 33 000, had not been receiving the disability element of child tax credit. While this might have been going on since 2011, HMRC was only prepared to back date the child element to the April 2016.

    CPAG is challenging the refusal to backdate payments further on the basis that the underpayments were caused by official error. The case is currently at the First tier tribunal. A hearing date has not been set.