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Access to justice, one step at a time: Part 2

17 November 2020
Part 1 set out our approach at CPAG to access to justice in the social security field, namely ensuring: access to information, access to advice and assistance, and access to mechanisms for challenging unlawful decisions. Continuing with the last of these steps, the normal route for challenging a social security decision is by appealing it to a tribunal. Sometimes though, the appeal route is not available or, while available in principle, is not effective. In those situations, the route of legal challenge is judicial review.

Furthering access to justice, one step at a time: Part 1

17 November 2020
The ‘rule of law’ and ‘access to justice’ are concepts that are seen as fundamental to the proper functioning of a healthy, democratic society. The rule of law becomes perilously fragile if ordinary people are unable to hold public bodies to account.

New universal credit assessment period regulations

16 November 2020
New universal credit regulations come in to force today. This follows our successful legal case concerning people paid monthly getting two wages in one UC assessment period.

Algorithms in social security: cause for concern?

28 August 2020
Two weeks ago pupils, parents and schools were up in arms when the news broke that 40 per cent of teacher-assessed A level results had been downgraded by at least one grade. The culprit? A computer, or to be precise, an algorithm. This episode clearly shows the chaos that can be caused to people’s lives when the technology that so many parts of public services now rely on goes wrong.

Benefit-capped working mother wins test case against DWP's irrational universal credit rules for assessing earnings

20 July 2020
A working single mother on universal credit (UC) has today won a test case against the DWP's approach to calculating earnings in UC which left her benefit-capped – and up to £5,000 worse off per year – purely because her employer paid her four-weekly rather than monthly.

Court of Appeal finds DWP's treatment of earnings under universal credit irrational in further victory for four single mothers

22 June 2020
The Department of Work and Pensions has lost its appeal against an earlier victory for four working single mothers challenging the rigidity of the universal credit (UC) system for calculating their earnings.

Households worse off on universal credit win Court of Appeal test case

12 May 2020
Two disabled households who were left worse off after they were forced to move to universal credit (UC) because their existing benefits were wrongly stopped by the DWP today won a breakthrough case in the Court of Appeal. The result means that depending on what remedy the DWP chooses, the two households – and potentially thousands like them subject to wrongful decisions by the DWP – will be able to return to their previous benefits or have their UC awards topped up to the level of their previous benefits.

Legal update

10 February 2020
Our legal team has had a busy start to the new year. Last week we learned we had been successful in our High Court case challenging the fact that the higher rate of bereavement support payment for families with children is currently only paid if a spouse or civil partner dies, and not when the couple were not married or in a civil partnership. This follows a similar challenge to the previous widowed parent’s allowance – the Supreme Court found in favour of a mother and her four children in that case, but, although the law is not compatible with human rights law, the government has still not resolved the issue.

Human rights aren't conditional

10 December 2019
Human Rights Day is an opportunity to reflect on our rights and what they mean to us. At CPAG we are particularly concerned with rights in the context of the changing benefits system, and ensuring that human rights are upheld when such drastic reforms are introduced.

Universal credit claimants blocked from challenging DWP decisions

19 July 2019
Universal credit (UC) claimants who suspect the DWP has made a mistake in their award and ask for a review are too often blocked by DWP error and failures in the system, a new report from Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) shows.