Exceptional cases funding granted for first time in welfare rights case

5 December 2014

In Secretary of State for Work and Pensions v PD CE/783/2014, Upper Tribunal (AAC), ‘exceptional cases funding’ was granted by the Legal Aid Agency  for what appears to have been the first time in a welfare rights case.

The case was the Secretary of State’s appeal against a FTT decision which found that the regulations designed to migrate claimants from Incapacity Benefit to ESA are ultra vires. It was heard by a three-judge panel in November and judgment is awaited.

In arguing successfully that the refusal of funding would breach PD’s Art 6 ECHR rights, PD relied on comments made in JC v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (ESA) [2014] UKUT 352 (AAC), §§62-63, which arguably demonstrate that ‘exceptional cases’ funding should be routine in three-judge panel cases.

Tom Royston acted for the benefit claimants in both PD and JC, instructed by the Child Poverty Action Group and Kirklees Law Centre respectively.

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