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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.

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.

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.

Putting children's rights at the heart of social security

20 November 2019
Today marks the 30th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). The fact that more countries have volunteered to be bound by the Convention than any other international human rights treaty reflects the global endorsement of the status of children as right-holders. The UK signed up to the Convention in December 1991, but to what extent is it meeting its obligations?

The Benefit Cap: a legal stock take

02 July 2019
Latest DWP figures show a consistent picture since the benefit cap was lowered back in November 2016: almost 75% of all capped households are headed up by a lone parent; a majority of all capped households (56%) are lone parent families with a youngest child under 5 years old; the benefit cap can be avoided by working a certain amount, but the rate at which this happens hovers around the 40% mark; almost 80% of capped households would not have been capped under the original cap.

Computer says 'no!' - how good is information provision in universal credit?

01 May 2019
“It’s a fundamental principle in a democracy that governmental bodies must have reasons for their decisions… that they should be able to explain what those reasons are… [and any] decision should be open to review or appeal.” So begins our latest report, Computer says ‘No!’

CPAG judicial review project – early successes

26 April 2019
As our Early Warning System has found increasingly in recent months, people are facing problems with how decisions are being made about their benefits. It’s vital that people have the right of appeal, and that decision-making is clear and fair, and we know this is not always the case.

Universal credit: a new era?

11 January 2019
Universal credit needs fixing. That’s certainly not the first time we’ve said that, but today the new Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Amber Rudd MP seemed to agree. At a Jobcentre in south London we got our first glimpse of what changes she has planned to make the benefit work better for everyone. Meanwhile, a couple of miles away the High Court announced that we had won our universal credit assessment period case. What do these two things mean for people claiming universal credit?

‘The scales of justice can seem very unbalanced’ – an interview with barrister Tom Royston

11 July 2017
We were delighted to learn last week that Tom Royston, a barrister who specialises in social welfare law, won the prestigious Legal Aid Newcomer Award at the Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year awards.