Legal

Early Warning System E-Bulletin - December 2020

In this edition of the e-bulletin, we provide a brief update on the habitual residence test and the benefit cap, and consider in detail three further topics which emerged over the past month.

Court of Appeal finds that EU nationals legally resident in UK were unlawfully excluded from claiming universal credit

18 December 2020
Two EU nationals, a severely disabled man and his carer, have won a landmark Court of Appeal case against the DWP which establishes their right to support from universal credit. The judgment means that EU nationals with pre-settled status cannot be treated differently to UK citizens in relation to access to means-tested benefits. 

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.

Early Warning System E-Bulletin - November 2020

In this edition of the e-bulletin, we look at the top three topics that have been recorded in the Early Warning System (EWS) throughout October 2020. Although issues that relate to the COVID-19 pandemic and the government measures taken in response to it still feature in the Early Warning System, we are now seeing a resurgence of long-standing concerns about the universal credit system.

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.

Our response to the call for evidence from the Independent Review of Administrative Law Panel

16 November 2020
The Independent Review of Administrative Law (IRAL) panel recently invited the submission of evidence on how well or effectively judicial review balances the legitimate interest in citizens being able to challenge the lawfulness of executive action with the role of the executive in carrying on the business of government, both locally and centrally. Our response emphasises the important role of judicial review in ensuring good governance and that decisions which affect some of the most vulnerable members of society are made in compliance with basic standards of good administrative decision making.

Universal Credit for 19 year olds in full-time, non-advanced education

MH v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (SC944/19/01408)
CPAG represented the appellant in a challenge to the universal credit (UC) rules that prevent certain 19 year olds who are in full-time, non-advanced education from being included in their parents’ UC claim, while they are also prevented from claiming UC in their own right, on the basis that the provisions are discriminatory and irrational. The appeal was heard by the First-tier Tribunal on 24th November 2020 and was dismissed.

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.